I wanted to look at something. This started out as a draft commenting on the idea that ” we all have faults ” which is true enough, but not entirely true. Now
I have something else to meld with it… see where the thoughts go…..
This has to do with making generalities and detailing specifics. We must be careful of generalities. Few things are truly universal, and yet, we share this flesh, this humanity, and that makes us search for the universal; the thread of everyman’s life.
When I said my father was ‘terribly’ flawed, in a former post, the modifier meant that he had things that interfered with living life properly more than many. Living life properly is not an indicator of rules followed, it is the outcome of a life where a person is free to express love and truth. Many things hinder our expressions of love and many more hinder our expression of truth, our truth and The Truth. In the universal and absolute sense.
Now there is a topic for philosophical discussion;)
But what I mean to address is whether it is true that we are all ‘terribly’ flawed and in what way…. and how much of this is used as an excuse, a brushing aside of accountability. It is more, though. This thought that good is what we say it is and it is measured by what we see represented around us. That we measure ourselves by ourselves.
And then to meld it with another question Clint raised concerning the Christian idea of salvation.
I believe all people are flawed. I have, at times, put it a different way: we all have our handicaps. Handling handicaps consists of understanding them and, often, compensating. But not all handicaps are of the same degree of difficulty.
But life creates character, and character is more than the set of assets and handicaps we begin with. It is that mixed with circumstances, others influences and modifications upon us, and our own responses. That is the tangible. There is also the intangible we call the grace of God. The many times God intervenes on our behalf, and within our hearts…. many, many times unbeknownst to us.
It is that outcome within our character that can become something soaring, but in my view of my father is something I termed “terribly flawed”. It makes me sorry as I write, because truly I did love my father. I wanted good for him. But not enough to be sacrificial to the degree that it seems it would have needed.
That I don’t know. What I do know is that people get very mixed up in their terms. Especially when it comes to ideas of good and evil, saved and lost, accepted and rejected. Lots of confusion there. And so I segue into what is -for me- highly related. I apologize if the link is not apparent to you…. I am flowing with the thoughts….
In the excepted quote from Daily Dig – Pure Compassion
by Simone Weil:
But he saves all those who out of a pure heart give a piece of bread to a starving man, without thinking about Him the least little bit.
An atheist and an ï¿½infidel,ï¿½ capable of pure compassion, are as close to God as is a Christian, and consequently know Him equally well, although their knowledge is expressed in other words, or remains unspoken. For ï¿½God is Love.ï¿½
The entire idea of salvation is placed on the usual platform that man likes it to rest, earning through good works. Then the other idea that confuses Christian and non-Christian alike: why man is so capable of such heights of good and depths of iniquity.
Atheists cannot know God by definition. They are humans, though. (It has to be said -sorry). They are humans, and they, in their humanity, can rise to heights of love and compassion. Christians hardly corner that market. But Christians can know God, and Christ’s words were guiding those who felt they knew Him to consider His definition of that. His definition is the permeation of good throughout a persons whole being.
Neither Atheists nor Christians can save themselves…that is…. live a life consistantly of good works. Try just one day, for that matter try five hours of consistant good, that hurts no one at any time. Despair of an entire life lived in that way. That is earning salvation versus salvation which the New Testament describes: the progressive permeation of good into ones character which purifies and preserves it from within. Not a one time effort. It is infused within a soul by the osmosis of faith… a transfusion of Christ’s lifeblood. His freedom to live true.
A terribly flawed person can have many barriers to that. Barriers of fear, of guilt, of pain, of refusal to forgive themselves, of condemnation-both their own and acceptance of voices of others. Such people have great potential of either heaven or hell. They are driven from within, but they are also bound.
People with the regular sorts of faults have little patience with the terribly flawed. They can’t believe that this person is not able to simply “snap out of it” “pull themselves up by their bootstraps” “turn over a new leaf”, or whatever description of helping themselves.
But while I may understand the terms, and the path of faith before me, I cannot say I understand why some of the terribly flawed escape their prisons and others do not.
I don’t know how that works, or what makes it work. I had believed that prayer made the difference – and I still believe that it makes a huge difference, but I don’t know that one human may overturn the determination of another. Not really, not in the spiritual realm. We wait, we hope, we have patience.
I do believe that the key that I may be seeking may lie within these words of Christ: that it is in our doing that we truly show we know Him. It does not save us, but perhaps it is the key that turns the lock of the lost imprisoned soul. Poured out love, in the sharing of bread with the hungry and water with the thirsty, and oil in the wounds of the hurting.
Maybe that was the key all along, and that was the missing emphasis.
Jesus says things quite plainly, but why is it so hard to hear?
I know the answer, but sometimes I don’t want to consider it. I need to consider it. Take heed to what I hear.