The other day I shared an article with a friend of mine on child rearing and housekeeping. We both agreed that there was nothing wrong with the article itself but that we both had trouble with the author’s use of the phrase, “good enough”. Our perception of the term is that good enough is not really, well…good. It’s a lick & a promise and hoping for better at another time. Read in context though, with the whole of the author’s thoughts and you could see that our perception was slightly off. Meaning the issue was us and not the writer.
I find that I feel that way about several different words. Buzz words if you will. Especially with churchy words. Words that you hear bandied about in Christian circles. Words like authentic and relevant. Whenever I hear those kinds of words I have an instinctive urge to roll my eyes.
Sounds horribly judgmental doesn’t it? Like I am weighing the speakers spiritual life and finding it wanting. But honestly, just like with the term “good enough”, the issue is mine and not the speaker’s. I just find those words to be used too often…too carelessly. It’s become quite vogue to be authentic and relevant. And seriously who is going to say that they want to live a life, especially a Christian life, that is fake and irrelevant?
The real problem is that often the things we say or do are things we don’t mean.
I didn’t mean to be short tempered with the children.
But I didn’t mean to be patient either.
I didn’t me to nag or belittle my husband.
But I didn’t mean to seek how I may be his helpmate either.
I didn’t mean to ignore my chores or or doing laundry or preparing dinner until the last minute.
But I didn’t mean to keep my priorities in line either.
Several years ago when my oldest daughter was around twelve or thirteen she was asked to unload the dishwasher before going to school. She did not want to unload the dishwasher and it showed in the noisy manner in which she was completing her task. When I corrected her for being so loud her response was, “I don’t mean to be loud.” My response was to point out that she wasn’t trying to be quiet either.
We tend to view the Ten Commandments as a list of don’ts. Don’t lie, don’t kill, etc. But for each negative there is also a positive. We’re charged with not killing and within that command is the admonishment to pursue life.
In Ephesians Paul tells the thief that it isn’t enough to just stop stealing.
Let the thief no longer steal, but rather let him labor, doing honest work with his own hands, so that he may have something to share with anyone in need. Ephesians 4:28 ESV
He is to stop stealing, certainly, but he is also supposed to work. And the purpose of his work is not for his own good it’s so that he may have something to share with anyone in need. It’s for the good of the community. It’s so he has something to offer.
If we mean the things we say…if our actions have the meaning we intend for them to have…then we will be working for the good of our husbands and wives, for the good of our children, and for the good of our churches and community.
This past Sunday my husband shared this exhortation as we entered into our time of confession:
“We live in a world in which good is often called evil and evil good. It is considered a cardinal virtue in our time to be tolerant of sinful behavior, even to defend it. It is a matter of pride for many to go so far as to celebrate what God expressly condemns.
Now, we can pretty easily get most of us on a bandwagon to support what I just said. “Yes,” we’ll say, “everything has gone upside down.” But there is a problem of the same kind that we might be quite comfortable pretending didn’t exist. That is, we often fall into the same error with our own lives. We become comfortable with our own sin; we even grow fond of it. If we acknowledge it as sin, and call it sin, we have to do something about it if we have any integrity at all. But our affection for it deceives us into actually calling sins virtues.
Our task each week in confessing our sins is to call sins sins, and to agree with God that they are sins – offenses against him. And when we do this, we find that he forgives us and reorients us to righteousness.
Simply put I want to mean the life that I’m living and many times I need to call my sin sin and to not just let it be enough to not do certain things or be a certain way. If I’m serious about that, then I don’t really have to be worried about whether or not I am relevant or authentic…those things are a by product, a result, of living like I mean it.