Jesonian: Reasonable (Part 2) … December 13th, 2015

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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Jesonian hands

Liberty.

Find God, discover liberty.

Stumble upon liberty, see God.

It was something that the Apostle Paul said. He equated God and liberty–an inseparable pair.

He also went on to intelligently point out that human beings initially use their liberty to generate sins of the flesh.

Yes, they do.

It does not matter. Just as free will is more important than love and law, liberty is the evidence that free will is in motion.

So what is reasonable? We deal with two dangers:

  • Being so meticulous in trying to control people’s choices that we suppress human passion deep inside, where it becomes perverted;
  • Or there is the danger of having an “anything goes” philosophy, which makes people think they have a free pass, creating equal peril.

Being reasonable is understanding what your job is, doing it well, and not assigning yourself the mission of quality control for others.

As human beings, we have two areas where we can interact with each other without fear or intimidation: the heart and the spirit.

At any time, I can cross paths with each and every one of you, and as long as I am trying to help you feel deeply about life or encouraging you to increase your faith, I am on solid turf, free of being a condemning force.

Yet I will tell you that your mind and your morals are your business and your business alone. I have no authority to control your thinking nor judge your choices.

The church should take this position.

We need to trust that exploding good emotion with spiritual renaissance is enough to allow human beings to renew their own minds and define their morality.

I have no intention of taking these daily essays which flow from my heart and do anything but stir your emotions and touch your spirit. It is up to you to use them to replace ideas in your brain and to reference your own behavior.

As long as we think we control the minds and morals of those around us, we are not only annoying to our brothers and sisters … but completely out of the will of God.

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Grace Period … September 13, 2013

Jonathots Daily Blog

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leaseI remember how thrilled I was in my twenties when I realized that even though my rent was due on the first of the month, I had five days to pay it before I was delinquent. It was referred to as the “grace period.”

But here’s the problem with that idea: within two months I became convinced that my rent was not due until the fifth. Instead of following the rules of the lease, which said I should pay on the first, I felt my rent could wait until the fifth. Eventually I created my own grace period–I started paying on the tenth and then the fifteenth. In no time at all, I rationalized that I was only one month behind.

You see, grace sounds like a wonderful idea until it’s perverted in the mind of a human twister. Rather than being grateful for the extension of mercy, we have a tendency to redefine and expand upon the original offer.

It doesn’t work in our secular society when we tell people to lie, cheat, deny and avoid doing anything admitting fault, and it does not work in the religious community either, where we generate simpering converts who tearfully espouse their weakness and pray for God to cover their lack.

Is there anywhere or any place where people are still trying to make better human beings?

I will tell you what grace is NOT. From there you can draw your own conclusions:

1. Grace can never be expected. Why? Because the Good Book says that grace is “given to the humble,” and the minute we start thinking we’re picking it up like a paycheck, pride and arrogance remove the value of the gift.

2. It can’t continue to allow us license to be stupid. Once again, the Good Book tells us that we can’t “continue in sin,” hoping that grace will arrive by oxcart, just in time to cover our butts.

3. And finally, grace can’t brag. The minute we start telling stories about how God has supernaturally protected us from our own foolishness instead of silently breathing a prayer of gratitude due to unmerited favor, we not only become obnoxious, but heaven also stops returning our phone calls.

God’s grace is sufficient for us–and therefore is determined by Him, not by the accumulation of our mounting pleas.

I think we would do well to take a season in our society to walk away from grace and encourage people to rediscover the power and majesty of personal responsibility.

  • I don’t think it will diminish grace, because when we are looking to our own hearts, we are humble. God gives grace.
  • When we’re checking out our own motives, we stop fostering foolishness and sin in our lives. Grace is permitted to hang around.
  • And if we will cease screaming and yelling about grace being everlasting, we will discover that the amount sent our way is always sufficient.

I have noticed of late that not many companies talk about “grace periods” anymore. For grace given to a lazy fool is always wasted, always taken for granted and always defined by the sluggard as a blank check … for stupidity.

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Launder Nut… May 17, 2013

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laundromatThe quickest way to experience failure is to complain about things that have to be done. Not only are you wasting your time by lamenting the activity, but in the process of shifting your focus to crabbiness, you are lengthening the process of the task.

First and foremost, I am not a graduate student of this philosophy, but rather, still in elementary school. In other words, I occasionally fuss about things that are inevitable. Somehow or another, I must believe that my rankling over some chore is going to cause God or the people around me to change my circumstances and allow me a free pass. Of course, it’s ridiculous and never happens.

I used to be that way about doing the laundry. Now, I’ve never been one of those men who thinks it is “women’s work.” Since no woman dirtied my clothing, there’s no reason to think I deserve a launder maid. But from time to time, I have grumped about the activity, thinking that made me more mature, fighting the “tide,” or that it let everyone know that I was sacrificially performing the duty without good “cheer.”

Then one day I asked myself three questions:

1. What did they used to do to wash clothes? For you see, what I do is throw them in a washer, pour in some detergent, and walk away to read a book. My ancestors–by the way, not TOO far back–had to go down to the stream with a bar of lye soap and beat their clothes with rocks to get all the soil out of the fabric. It’s difficult to believe that cleansing your threads could be an aerobic workout, but for my great-grandmother, it certainly was. Humbled by the answer to my first question, I asked a second.

2. What do I have to do? As I shared earlier, I have a washing machine and a dryer to assist me in my endeavor, plus any number of additional distractions to entertain me as I wait for the full baptism of my clothing. The answer to my question is, I can do whatever I want to do. The machines do everything else. The only part of the process that resembles ancient times is that the clothes do require folding. But I have learned to turn that into a game. I see how quickly I can do it, how efficiently, or, on a given week, I fold them in a different direction than I did in the previous one. I also allow myself points and pride for taking those inside-out garments and restoring them to their correct position. Which leads to my third and final question:

3. What do I get out of it? Aside from clean clothes, I get underwear that actually smell good. I like the smell. Sometimes when I’m folding the clothes, I sniff them, which to onlookers may have a perverted bend. But they smell good.

And because laundry is a job that most people abhor, when I return with clean clothes, I become the hero of the hour. As people put them away in their drawers, they thank me over and over again for the arduous activity I endured.

And last but not least, I have the confidence that I will not have to do it again for  several days. It is one of those few pursuits that is actually finished for a season–without constantly looming, threatening repetition.

What I’m trying to tell you is that the door to happiness is unlocked when we realize that we live in a “gilded age,” where the blessing of technology has alleviated nearly all of the suffering from the succotash. We also greatly benefit by being able to complete our journey and see the blessed results of our quest.

Complaining is what people do when they believe two very dumb ideas: (1) life is not fair; and (2) that anybody cares that I’m upset.

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