Saturday, April 24, 2010

First They Came ...

THEY CAME FIRST for the Communists,
and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Communist.

THEN THEY CAME for the Jews,
and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Jew.

THEN THEY CAME for the trade unionists,
and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a trade unionist.

THEN THEY CAME for me
and by that time no one was left to speak up.

- Pastor Martin Niem├Âller

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Public displays of grace

I was watching a couple today and I'm fairly certain they were brand new. They were young and oblivious to anyone around them. The girl kept saying things that the guy didn't agree with, but he'd bite his tongue and smile, she'd giggle. And they'd kiss.

It was disgusting. I would've made gagging sounds if I thought I could've gained their attention.

But it also occurred to me this is not the worst presentation of what grace really looks like. I've been there before and I think most of you have, too, although some of you may have to scrape the recesses of your brain to remember what it was like to:

- Be so interested in what the other person has to say you're willing to let go of any point you might have

- Bite your tongue and resist your initial instinct to scream when someone else says something that crosses your opinions on the world

- Be willing to let someone get away with being a little rude in exchange for a warm smile or a quick kiss.

Hey, I've seen some great marriages out there, but eventually all this wears off in every relationship. At some point you have to stand your ground and draw a line. It's just human nature. Grace becomes a challenge, and it's why marriages can dissolve even 20, 30, 40 years down the line ... surrender gives in to self-preservation of some kind, usually of the emotional kind.

Obviously it requires God to fuel us up with grace to sustain it. It just never looks so ... graceful, and it never comes so easy, when you're early in a relationship.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010