01 September 2006

right responses?


Does something ever happen within your life experience that catches you completely off guard such that u don't even know how to respond? i'm not talking random weird things. I'm recalling a family vacation in bend, oregon where a few of us went horseback riding along the river, with a trained guide, and were ambushed by a "flasher" waiting to reveal all from his perch on the cliff above the river bank. There's no "right response" to something so shockingly sick and wrong. And I'm not talking about when a person cuts you off in traffic or that sweet looking lil ole lady "steals" your this-must-be-meant-for-me-close-to-the-door parking spot.

I'm talking about the "wow! i didn't see this coming" type of occurence where you react in emotion and not reason. That's the "right" response thing I'm thinking about. It's that sense that as a Christ follower, and an image bearer of Christ, I should react in a certain way. But what spills out, or at very least fills your mind, is something altogether not righteous, and as far from 'turn the other cheek' as you can imagine.
Yeah, me neither. i have no idea what i'm talking about. clearly that never happens in this life.

but, for the sake of humoring me (it's my blog after all), let's say it does happen. let's say we don't respond rightly. how do we overcome that? or is it really okay to show honest emotion? i guess what i'm wondering in my rather obtuse, likely too ambiguous way is whether it's truly okay to vent, or to complain, or to be angry about a situation or circumstance? I ask in part b/c i look at some of the writing of a guy I respect named Paul and he plainly and firmly says, "don't let any unwholesome talk come out of our mouths but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs that it may benefit those who listen." So, in the category of being not only hearers of the word, but doers of the word, how do we live that out??

Perhaps my problem is that I want the "right" or correct response. And God's been reminding me pretty consistently that it's really okay to "give up the right to be right" and to trust Him for the whole surrender piece. Or perhaps it's just that I don't really want to be fully obedient to the word? Or it's a matter of not trusting God enough? I might not have the proper diagnosis. I know this, though, it's a journey. And i'm leaning into some other words Paul said, 'He who began a good work in me will carry it out to completion in the day of Christ Jesus." Ah. There's some hope and some grace. Hallelujah.

6 comments:

Faith said...

You ask many good questions here! I think it is okay to vent and share frustrations when you have that emotion. But then, too, you have to remember to not dwell on the past but move on--how can you use this experience to better yourself as a child of God? The feedback you can get back from your friends and family--whether it is what you want to hear or not--is an important part of your relationships with others--somthing that God encourages I believe. God definitely didn't create humans to do everything on their own. He created others to establish relationships to hold others accountable.
In terms of the "flasher", I think in astonishment, you do have the laughter, the taking a double-look to make sure your eyes are not deceiving you--or maybe just curiousity! That doesn't make you a bad person if you don't react in the correct "Christian" way, it just makes you human =]. Love you sis!

cindy said...

i'm going to take a stab at one of the pieces to your question. is it truly ok to be angry? i'd say it depends on the situation. are you angry because someone cut you off on 28th street or are you angry because the body of believers isn't behaving in a way that honors God? if the answer is the latter, then yes, i think we have permission to be angry.

Jesus himself showed anger at the temple when, instead of worshipping our creator, the temple was filled with money changers, those selling merchandise, and doves.

sometimes you need to be angry.

this is just a top of mind response to a rather large topic. my heart wonders what you are really wrestling with here.

Gracie said...

okay wait, faith, r u who i think u r? how fun r u!!! thanks for visiting. and thanks for ur wisdom. i always learn from you!!

and cindy, i don't know if i can fully identify what i'm really wrestling with. but ur reminders are powerful. thanks, friend!

karla said...

i was gonna respond (and i guess, still have) but i need to look up some stuff first before i just blurt out what i THINK the bible says.

jeb said...

you know paul in his letters is a p.r. guy, conscious of liability suit etc... that is not the whole picture though. life is a bit more complicated and layered. there is a proper response in a given setting because of the impact our actions have on those around us. another setting can properly have another response.
i like job. i also like david. two people who are honest with themselves and God. they are faithful in their relationship and commitment to God and this means that sometimes they are praying that certain folks and their children have their heads dashed upon the stones, shattered into broken bits. or they have to ask 'what the fuck is going on here God?' or as Jesus cried 'why have you forsaken me!' these men are not rebuked for these struggles because they come from out of their faith. i think the pressure as people of faith is to act 'nice' or move on, not to dwell on the woundedness of this world and our lives. ultimately we do move on. our faith is a rich tradition of redemption, however, that healing means little if we have ignored the depth of our wounds. if we haven't stayed in that place of hurt until we feel the full weight of it.

Gracie said...

yeah, jeb, i do appreciate the inegrity with which Job and David seemed to live, it least in the pieces we get to read and see. Unfortunately, if i'm honest, i mostly want the benefit of pain and healing, and not the reality of pain and brokenness.