Two Bugaboos

Two Bug-a-boos (1,172)

June 9th, 2011

Religious and secular.

We are always trying to create a two-world system—when it is completely obvious that the planet earth has a single reality—and that reality is really quite simple.

Seed time and harvest.

In other words, “What you sow, you reap.”

Of course, you can imagine how popular that principle is among individuals who are constantly looking for a short-cut to their short-cut.

So religion created grace. Better phrased, religion promotes grace above all else. Grace is a reality—it is what the Bible says God gives to the humble, though He most certainly resists the proud. What would God consider humility? People who submit to his wonderful system of seedtime and harvest without demanding to reap without sowing.

And for those who don’t want to mix God into the equation, there’s the doctrine of self-esteem. This philosophy inundates us with the contention that “we are just fine the way we are, we just need to believe in ourselves more and encourage others to believe in themselves, and pretty soon—just like in the Peter Pan story—if we all think we can fly, then doggone it, we’re gonna fly!”

Let me summarize it for you.

Secular self esteem: “It’s not your fault. You’re just fine.”

Religious grace: “It is your fault a little bit, but halleluiah, God took care of it. So now you’re fine.”

I would not point these two bugaboos out to you if they were proving to be highly successful, producing contented, intelligent and industrious followers. But what they have created is a discontented rabble, blaming everyone else for inconsistencies while constantly being frustrated by the lack of results.

Is there any truth to grace? Is self-esteem viable? Let me make one thing clear to you immediately: neither grace nor self-esteem have any footing or place in the natural order. The earth and all of its properties do not care that you have superior self-worth or a membership card to your local church. God has made nature to have an even playing field for anyone who is willing to learn the rules and participate fairly.

So how to we achieve grace, acquire grace or receive grace if the world we live in basically ignores its presence? Jesus said it well. “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.”

Nature, unlike people, is willing to adapt to practices that have proven themselves to be effective. In other words, if I can show mercy, life has an example of what it is like to be merciful, and therefore can reflect it back to me. You do know there is no reflection in life without first shining a light. Likewise, if I am willing to afford other people the dignity of free will without condemning them—granting them the chance to achieve their own happiness—nature has the privilege and joy of reflecting back to me an equal amount of courtesy and latitude.

So it’s not nearly so much that we’re “saved by good works” as it is that good works give us a light, which nature—and therefore people—can reflect back our way, making our journey much more pleasant.

Otherwise, if you’re religious, you’re waiting for heaven to receive your pay-off of grace, and if you’re secular, you’re hoping to run across someone who agrees with self-esteem so you both can acquire that status.

Unfortunately, I believe that the doctrine of grace and the promotion of self-esteem have done nothing to improve our world, but rather, have turned us into lazy, complaining, dormant vessels, waiting for redemption and approval instead of a good reaping of what we’ve sown.

Do I believe in God’s grace? Absolutely! But I do not take it for granted by ignoring His earth processes and refusing to achieve my own responsibility.

Do I think self-esteem is important? Undoubtedly! But self-esteem is an arrogant presumption if I am not willing to extend the same mercy equally to others as I desire myself.

As these two bugaboos have grown in our society, our productivity has dropped. Our initiative and creativity have taken a severe dip. Our churches have become sources of repetition and religiosity instead of fellowships of challenge and change. And our society has turned into a collection of spoiled brats, demanding candy instead of vegetables.

So what can you and I do to help reinstate mercy and achieve well-deserved self-consideration?

1. Stay humble. That means we understand that God moves as we move. As the Bible says, “Draw close to God and He will draw close to you.”

2. Stop expecting a harvest without a planting. Don’t complicate it; just understand that nothing moves until we move.

3. When you finally decide what you want, make sure you extend that same vista of possibility to others—just as you want to receive it yourself.

I am not a preacher against the bugaboos, but I do teach myself and anyone who has an ear to hear that in a world of seedtime and harvest, the worst place you can be is sitting in the barn on a bale of hay, waiting for your crop.

Published in: on June 9, 2011 at 12:59 pm  Leave a Comment  
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