Thursday, November 09, 2006

Stunted Growth

A couple years ago, I was a mess -- emotionally, spiritually -- I was immature, I was impatient, I was doubtful of God, doubtful of my calling -- a wreck. Today, when I look back at that period of my life, I'm embarrassed. I hope people forget what I was like then and instead think of me in my finer moments. I hope that people understand that I learned a lot and I matured, and I'm a better man now. I was challenged in my prayer time this morning, that sometimes I don't do that very thing. I sometimes keep people "stuck" in my head -- I define them by their worst moment, allowing little room for growth, and characterize all their actions by their worst moments. Frankly, it's just easier that way -- I can write people off, or say bad stuff about them, or mentally attack them based upon this ungracious, self-righteous labeling. I've been on both sides of this. I know there are people who define me by my worst moments. I think of this kid in my youth group that I really liked -- he was a great kid -- and yet, things didn't go right. I hurt his feelings with an ill-placed barb. And then, I think, I was always seen by him & his parents in light of my foibles, instead of my best intentions. (by the way, this is one of my arguments against doing ministry in one's "home" church -- you'll always be seen as you were in high school) So today I'm challenged -- to be more gracious, to root out one-dimensional, "straw man" pictures of people in my head, to recognize that people grow beyond their bad moments, to be willing to be wronged and to move past it. (By the way, for those of you that are "local," I'll be talking more about this idea on Saturday night @ Nexus -- we're finishing a series called "Spiritually Transmitted Diseases" and we'll be talking about Self Righteousness.)

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