Tag Archive: Relationships


He hung up the phone.  He knew it was trouble.  He knew deep down it would be the last time he spoke with his brother.  No one was going to die; but the relationship, which was on life support, was.  

It had been going on for some time.  It was one of those ,what do they call it, enabling relationships.  It wasn’t so much that they needed each other.  Due to the blood line, they were expected to tolerate each other.  

The older brother was a master manipulator.  He was a juggler.  He did not juggle things.  He juggled people.  Some might say he was a narcissist.  Others might go so far as to label him a psychopath or a sociopath.  It didn’t need to be labeled.  He simply used people for his own benefit.   

The younger brother knew something was wrong.  It started one Christmas.  He got a race track he always wanted.  Making a long story very short, the  older brother ended up ruining it and blaming it on the defeated youngster.  

Part 2 was even worse.  Their sister wore wigs.  That’s what they did back in the 70’s.  One day the wig ended up with a huge hunk cut out of it.  It was clear that a razor was the weapon of choice.  Guess who got blamed and severely punished?  You know it!  Even though the younger brother had a very viable alibi, he couldn’t stand up for himself yet.  During the punishment, the older brother never said a word.  He won!  That his how his life was to be.  The older one never lost. 

A few years later, during a game of one-on-one street hockey in the yard, the relationship issues began to show the ugly side.  In the middle of the game, a friend of the older son rode past.  “I’ll be right back.  Wait for me,” he yelled to his brother.  The younger brother waited.  And he waited.  After what seemed like an hour, he quietly walked off the court.  That day began the descent.  He knew it ,but, as he used to say, “That’s my brother.”

After the younger brother married, the couple were sitting at a table engaging in conversation with the, by now, arrogant juggler.  In mid sentence, a more prominent family member walked in the room.  Without finishing his thought, the juggler dropped the conversation in mid sentence and chased after his next victim.  As the younger brother’s wife looked at him, he shrugged his shoulders and muttered what everybody had been muttering for some 30 years now, “That’s just him.  Don’t worry about it.”  

The stories could go on and on.  Throughout their life the older brother took on the image of the Biblical older brother, especially the one in the Prodigal Son story found in Luke 15.  He knew how to keep those he wanted close and satisfied.  He also knew how to manipulate the others.  

He had a good reputation with those on the outside.  He knew what words to use.  It was like he was a card shark, counting cards and knowing the percentages for his next play.  When God is somehow attached to users and manipulators, it makes the picture very blurry.

I have come to learn that, in many family situations, the idea of the older vs. younger brother situation in Luke 15 is not just a classic parable by Jesus but a picture of actual co-dependent relationships in our families, and without question, in our churches.  

It seems that when love, grace ,and mercy are to be idealized, the abuser (yes, that is what they are) finds fertile soil to toil his manipulative practices. We often forget about the older son in the Prodigal Son parable.  He doesn’t seem like a primary character.  Not only that, but we like to focus on the Father and the wayward younger son due to the incredible love and grace.  It’s easy to forget about what looks like a successful, obedient, faithful son.  

I have looked at that one for years.  My eyes were opened as I sat listening to teaching on this one.  The speaker looked right at me (it seemed like it) when he said, “Few realize the older son did not love his father either.  He only wanted what his father had.”  Ahh, who says the Bible isn’t grand.  They understood modern psychology thousands of years ago.  At the end of the day, those who use people, juggle their relationships to look good, and abuse those closest to them with words and attacks don’t love the person in front of them.  They want what they have.  They want their attention and praise.  

The younger brothers spent years trying to figure out what to do with these enabling, co-dependency relationships in their family and in their church.  I think I know why the younger son asked his dad for his inheritance and took off when he got it.  He wanted to get out of the relationship with the older brother.  When he came home, he did not come home to make amends with the brother.  He came home to the father.  

After so many years, the younger brother has figured out what is the best way to handle this one.  He shut the door to the older brother much like Esau and Jacob.  Jacob came home after many years, but there is no indication the relationship with Esau was renewed.  In fact, Jacob put a distance between him and Esau when peace was established.  It wasn’t that he feared his brother.  He  just knew who he was. 

Maybe some of you reading this article are being used and abused by a family member or church member.  More than likely you have tried to practice love, grace, and mercy.  I have come to figure out that shutting the door to such relationships is love, grace and mercy. 

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It’s fun to get email from readers.  It lets me know somebody actually reads this column.  This week, a reader asked me, based on the June 23rd article that I titled “Searching,” what was I searching for.  Once again my sarcastic button wanted to be pressed with “I’m supposed to ask those questions, not you.”  I’m getting better.  I did not even type such a rude response.  Jesus, keep whispering in my ear please.  

I did sit back and think about his question a bit.  I thought about all the things I have chased in the past.  The list is too long to put in this article.  I don’t think the Bluffton Today has enough room for all my wanderings.  

Probably the top three quests I have engaged on would be respect, wealth, and an acknowledgment from my dad that I was valued.  There are long stories behind all three.  I will be brief.  I think I heard the editor’s sigh of relief.  

Last week I wrote about being a different thinker than the rest of my family.  When one feels like the odd-ball we tend to be the odd-ball.  I was raised in a family that did not demand success but it was quietly expected.  Being the youngest and the odd-ball I tended to thirst for respect.  I was my own worse enemy.  I had a chance to go to be in University of Maryland’s doctorate program.  I turned the offer down.  I don’t know why I did that.  To this day it might be the only thing I have done that I truly regret.  I do know one thing.  It would not have satisfied my desire to be respected.  I know it was only a temporary solution.  

For some time I like most Americans who bought the American dream chased up the ladder searching for financial security and a sense of wealth.  Let me just say this, it only takes one major error or event to take all the mullah away.  Wealth does feel good at the time but it is very fleeting.  The biggest problem is once you get “there” (wherever that is) it has to sustained.  Even at that we tend to want more.  It doesn’t matter how much money one makes.  We will spend it or never think we have enough.  Jesus said you can’t serve two masters.  He was right.  

The one that has probably caused me the most problems is the seeking acknowledgement from my dad that I was valued.  It wasn’t my fathers problem.  It was my interpretation of life.  Honestly, dad didn’t necessarily go out of his way to express value to anyone.  He was somewhat a quiet man.  He was obsessed with his business.  He worked hard and his parents didn’t pat him on the back either.  He didn’t degrade any of us either.  Somehow, I wanted Dad to express my value and I never really got it.  I then tried to get it from others.  Thankfully, my friend Bob about 15 years ago picked up on it and he worked with me on it.  I don’t need Dad’s pat on the back.  All I need is my Heavenly Father’s love.  That’s all anyone needs.  Human moms and dads will let us down.  I know.  I’m a dad.

That’s the short versions.  I have also done other ventures seeking God only knows what.  In a few days I will turn 60 years old.  I ‘m still not sure how that happened.  Just yesterday I was 40.  The old body doesn’t do what it used to.  The brain thinks it can but everything seems to move in slow motion.  Here I am entering the last phase of my life and I was asked, “What are you searching for?”  I can answer clearly. 
I’m searching for peace.  I’m tired of the fight.  Some of it is my life has to become simpler.  Less grass to cut.  Less junk in the garage.  Don’t look now, my garage is jammed.  I can’t wait till the next yard sale.  My motto used to be ‘If we haven’t touched it in three years, it’s time to go.”  Now it’s, “If we haven’t looked or touched it in one year it’s way over due to go.”  The biggest thing is I want peace in my relationships.  In the book of James (Jesus’ half brother) he asks a good question.  “Why are there fights and arguments among you?”  I can answer that one.  My wife wants to go to the Okatie Ale House for dinner and I want to go to New York City Pizza.  She wants chicken fajitas and I want pizza.  Better yet, she wants to go to Disney World for vacation and I want to go to the mountains.  Get the picture.

James answered the question as I did.  He wrote, “You want something and you don’t get it.”  He even says, “You ask of God but it is too late.”  You know it’s too late when you are praying to change someone else and not you.  

I’m tired of wanting.  In church work our wants just take on a “righteous” aura.  In reality it’s the same thing as when I was making big bucks fixing cars.  I want things my way.  Do you think my desires bring peace to anyone much less myself.  No way possible.  

I can get rid of the stuff that clutters my life.  I can slow down a bit and get some things off my plate.  That is all good.  But to gain peace in my life especially in regards to my family and friends as well as my neighbors (that’s what Jesus called them) I need to practice a simple Jesus equation.  He said, “In order to find your life you must lose your life.”  Help Me Jesus.  Please.  

A friend of mine ran upon some hard luck lately.  It wasn’t like it was the end of the world.  Things just didn’t go his way.  There were no emergencies.  No hospital stays.  No doctor’s diagnosis.  No family issues.  In other words, the little things in life filled his mind and soul like sand does when we go to the beach.  So, what did he do?  He made a rash decision and ran away.  Literally.  

A few days after he got in his car and left. I was able to get a-hold of him.  “Worst decision I have ever made in my life,” he grumbled.  In my earlier days, I would have replied, “No kidding, Sherlock!” But I didn’t.  I held my sometimes sharp tongue.  Instead, I asked him to come home.  It wasn’t too late.  It might cost him, but he would survive.  After a quick deflection, he indicated he would have to live with his decision.  As we closed, I sullenly said, “I hope you find what you are looking for.”  He hung up the phone.

Lately, I have had several people awaken to what seems to be the path to implosion.  That topic seems to be gaining momentum.  Just this morning I was talking with a young lady who suddenly wanted to talk about some books she has been reading.  The topic…accepting your life as it is instead of getting in the rush to make something it cannot be.  Eventually, we run out of energy and time, and, if our life is not what we or others expect it to be, we…implode.  Our whole society seems to be searching for something it cannot find.

I have often made mention of the suicide and opioid death rates, especially among the Millennials.  We point at that group, but the numbers are increasing among every generation.  Last week, I was engaged with several late-age opioid addicts.  Their stories were somewhat similar.  They liked the feeling of not having to deal with the discouragements in life.   

As technology exposes us to more and more, our lust seems to be increasing at a parallel rate.  Unfortunately, our quest for finding the life we think we want and the one we think we deserve is costing us.  It’s costing us valuable relationships (real or perceived).  

When we are searching for something more than a life with Jesus as our guide, it tends to distort our life view.  Take my friend.  He talked about the lack of friends and how all he has is his dog and cat but I’m not sure anyone can count on a cat as a friend.  Sorry, cats own us; we don’t own them.)  

The reality is my friend had numerous friends.  Only they did not give him what he was looking for.  Honestly, after knowing him for about 10 years ,I don’t know what he is looking for.  The crazy thing is ,I’m not sure he knows either.  It’s not just him.  

About everybody I counsel has no idea where they want to be in the future and no idea how to get there.  They are just trying to survive the day.  Only, if they are in my office, they aren’t surviving the day.  They all talk about a yearning for something more and yet, they all have so much at their fingertips.

Our world is oversaturated.  How many television channels do we really need?  Google something.  Anything.  Take a look at the pages and pages of listings for anything you want information about.  Which one is worth our time?  Which one is what we are looking for?  Don’t think we are oversaturated?  Check out Youtube.  

At the end of the day we are all looking for what was lost in Eden.  Our ability to be in a complete relationship with God, man, and earth was wiped out by one selfish decision.  We have not been satisfied since.  It is costing us more than we can imagine.  It did then and it is now.  Adam and Eve’s son Cain killed his brother.  Over what?  His quest to be satisfied.  Not far from his parents who wanted to be satisfied with one piece of fruit.  

People often ask me why I believe in Jesus.  It’s easy.  In Jesus, I find the only person, and yes, I said it right, person, in whom I can come home.  When I am home, I find what the angels proclaimed at his birth, “Peace on earth.”  I will venture out on another quest, but, without fail, he comes and finds me and welcomes me home every time.  I know one day my quest will be over when I’m no longer bound by this world.  In the meantime, my hope is in Jesus.  Why?  Nothing else can satisfy. Ask Bono of U2.  They sang truthfully, “And I still haven’t found what I’m lookin for.”  Just ask my friend.  If you can find him.

I’m turning 60 years old this year.  I’m not sure how I got this old.  Just yesterday I was 45.  It seems like yesterday we moved to South Carolina.  Fourteen years later and it seems like yesterday the moving van pulled up.  It took some time.  Baltimore is no longer home.  Bluffton is home.  It helps when the grandkids live right around the corner. Such transitions take time.  I don’t know where the last 14 years have gone.  

Since I can now live in Sun City (I don’t), and I’m entering my sixties, I decided to write to the older generations.  Just today I got a chance to talk to a 21 year old.  He was so young.  My kids are in their late 30’s.  Having a chance to engage a kid was energizing for sure.  In many aspects his life is drastically different than my world.  He doesn’t know life without a cell phone.  I remember days we worried about the influence of television.  He doesn’t even watch it.  He watches his cell phone.  

Recently, I was in a meeting with two different generations.  One of the older men sat and listened for the entire hour.  He didn’t say a word.  As we left, one of the young guys referred to his silence.  He replied, “I’m listening and learning.”  What was he learning?  He was learning about the conflicts and challenges the young guys face.  He was learning there was a lot he did not know.  So he listened.

More and more, especially in the church, the older generation (Baby Boomers) are becoming detached from the technologically infused younger generations.  The detachment means the kids don’t call.  It means if the Boomers don’t engage the Internet, more than likely they won’t be in communication with their grandkids.  Last week I Face-Timed my mother who lives in West Virginia.  She found it amazing to see her youngest son some 650 miles away.  For the first time in a long time, she didn’t ask when we were going to stop by.  The technology might be scary for us old guys, but it’s quite amazing.  

We like to blame the younger generations for the detachment.  It’s not their fault.  It’s nobody’s fault.  Let’s be truthful.  It’s hard enough to maintain the relationships right in from of us much less keeping the long distance ones going.  Some of the detachment is distance.  We blame them for not staying in contact.  They blame us for moving away.  Meanwhile, we refuse to learn the new technology that can connect us with them on the other side of the world.  

On top of distance, there are the cultural influences that separate us.  I still hear the Boomers complaining about no prayer in school.  I hate to say it, but that bus left the station a long time ago, and it’s not coming back.  Today, my grandkids have to figure out transgenders, as well as the broken family unit.  Often they have to do so on their own.  

Meanwhile, our generation complains that the younger generation is selfish and egocentric.  We must be honest.  We are just as bad, if not worse.  When the Bible talks about thinking about others more than ourselves and we don’t apply it to our children and grandchildren, we are the selfish and narcissistic ones.  When we demand they respond to us when we played our part in the failed relationship, we violate the basics of Jesus’ words about loving our neighbor, which means laying down our life for their sake of our neighbor.  We fail to understand that our kids are Biblically defined as our neighbor.  We don’t know them.  It’s long over due to stop blaming anybody and start listening. Listening to learn and to know.

We are studying the Psalms on Sunday during the education hour.  I have been reminded that Psalms say a lot about generational relationships.  It doesn’t surprise me that our generation only knows Bible passages that point fingers at our kids.  Psalms 71 says we have a responsibility to proclaim the power of God and his marvelous deeds to the next generation.  Somehow, we replaced God.  We declare our deeds – we think we are the greatest generation.  No wonder they quit listening.  

 In Psalm 78 Asaph asks God to have their children set their hope in God and not be like their fathers who are a stubborn and rebellious generation whose heart was not faithful to God.  Faithfulness is not defined by church attendance.  It’s defined by loving God and loving others.  Anybody notice that Jesus loved others by listening first and responding second?

Psalm 145 repeats Psalm 71.  Instead of talking about us and pointing fingers at them we are to declare the work of our Lord. What is the work of the Lord?  He loved us.  With that love he moves us to love others not just ourselves.  

Maybe we exasperated our children (Ephesians 5).  There is only one act of love to redeem our relationships with our kids.  Ask for forgiveness.  By laying our lives down we will then be considered the greatest generation.  

When I was a kid I used to watch Lost in Space. The marooned explorers had a robot that would call out “Danger, Will Robinson” when the young member of the party was venturing into places engaging dangerous elements. For today’s article, I’m going to issue a warning, “Danger, Willing Readers.” The thoughts and expressions in today’s article may be offensive to some. If you choose to read further I can at least say, “I warned you.”
Thursday, May 3rd was the National Day of Prayer. Many churches, organizations and groups held prayer vigils. Usually I don’t attend these types of meetings. Maybe I’m a curmudgeon or overly critical. Prayer shouldn’t need a meeting or a day to itself. Prayer should be the staple of our Christian lives. Anyway, it is what it is. I decided this year to attend two prayer opportunities on this one day.
As I listened to the prayers, I became concerned. I heard prayers of what we wanted God to do. We want God to do all sorts of things from healing our nation, having the non-believers live like believers, to desiring great prosperity (even though we already have had that one for quite a while). God has a really big list after Thursday. It’s not to say we can’t ask God for these things. In actuality, by grace, we can make our petitions to God in any way and for anything we so desire. It’s in God’s hands anyway.
But prayers tend to show the heart more than we realize. What I didn’t hear in our prayers were requests to transform our hearts. I didn’t hear prayers that called those in attendance to be active for the cause of Christ. I didn’t hear anyone pray, “Lord, we are your children, direct us to gospel ministry.” I didn’t hear anyone pray, “Lord, what would you have for us to do?” I didn’t hear anyone pray, “Lord, send me!” Nope, the National Day of Prayer was the day we asked often in an attitude of expectation for the nation, state and county to cater to our desires and keep us all prospering. I thank the Lord, honestly, that he is interceding for us to the Father. We need it!
At the end of one of the meetings an individual prayed, “Thank you, this has not cost us that much.” I wanted to stand up and thank them and end the meeting right there. That is one of the issues that has Christianity in America reeling.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer, modern day martyr, wrote a book titled The Cost of Discipleship. The entire first chapter is the difference between “cheap” grace and “costly” grace. He writes, “Costly grace is the treasure hidden in the field; for the sake of it a man will gladly go and sell all that he has. It is the pearl of great price to buy which the merchant will sell all his goods…It is the call of Jesus Christ at which the disciple will leave his nets and follow him.”
Jesus said in Luke 14, “…any of you who does not give up everything he has cannot be my disciple.” It’s interesting; Jesus proceeds in the next sentence to talk about salt that has lost it’s saltiness. Is there a correlation? You bet there is.
Our current expression of a comfortable faith has cost us. It has cost us the next two generations. It is our children and grandchildren. Youth workers across the nation know we are having major issues keeping our own children in the faith. The Word of God they hear is not the Word of God they see. We talk about the armor of God in Ephesians only to stand in a museum for show instead of engaging in the gospel war.
The Bible talks about repentance. It is a constant call not so much to the non-believers but to the believers. I don’t hear prayers of confession and repentance. Instead I hear prayers asking God to continue our comfortable faith. “When Christ calls a man, he bids him come and die,” wrote Bonhoeffer. Die to the elements of this world.
My generation has built great buildings, written wonderful books and created numerous programs. Only we failed to build our vital relationships that take the most valuable asset we own today…time. It takes time to walk with a child. It takes time to love well. It takes time of which we spent building a kingdom on this earth instead of the kingdom of God. We left that to the paid staff. Epic fail.
Hope is not lost. Repent and ask forgiveness of our God and the generations we have failed. Instead of a National Day of Prayer, let’s have a National Day of Repentance. We will see how many will show up for that one.

He drug himself in the back door once again.  Ten hour days.  Six days a week.  Six years running.  His faithful wife once again had dinner ready.  By this time his daughter was in middle school and the boy was in fifth grade.  The sibling rivalry stuff was in full gear.  Seldom did they look across the table at one another.  If they did it was usually a glare.  Meanwhile, without one single word his wife’s body language yelled at him that it had been another one of those days.  We don’t need to define it.  We all have them.  When they start to string together life turns gray, vanilla, ho hum and the ruts grow a little deeper.

No use upsetting the apple cart at this point.  Let’s see if they can get through dinner without WWIII.  After a little light chatter silence settled in for a few seconds even though it felt like hours.  To break the silence, the tired dad asks his daughter, “How was school today.”  I don’t know what he expected.  “Fine,” was mumbled between bites of food.  I don’t know if Guinness has a record for the most days a dad hears “Fine” from his children but he would bet he was nearing the world record.

Turning to his rambunctious ADD son he hesitated for a moment then let the same old question fly, “What did you learn in school today Buckoo?”  With a gleam in his eye and a smirk on his face the lad responds in glee, “Nothin.”  “Nothin, not one single bit of new stuff learned today?” Dad employs.  “Nope, Nothin.”

At just about every American dinner table they learn what made the ruts in the wagon trails as we moved west.  Running over the same old place over and over again with little movement to the left or right will without a doubt create a rut.  Welcome to dinner.  Rah.

Dad was starting to stew so he looked at mom and let her know he was tired of working so hard and so long to send the kids to private school if all he gets for his effort was “Fine and Nothin.”  He forgot her body language just a few minutes ago told him it was probably not a good time to complain, poke or prod.  We don’t have to go into detail at this point.  Let’s just say mom let it be known that he had no idea what it was like to deal with Ms. Fine and Mr. Nothin over homework before dinner.  Here we go!  The game is on.

Only today, dad was not going to put gasoline on the fire.  Nope, it wasn’t worth it at least not in front of the kids.  Silence once again ruled the dinner table.  It’s a good thing this family was not in the technological age or the iPods, pads or phones would have allowed each one to retreat into their own world hoping dad doesn’t want to have one of “those” talks.

For some reason that only God can say the worn out dad turned to his daughter and asked a different question, “Honey, we are supposed to be a Christian family, have you experienced God lately?”  With mouth agape and the look of complete astonishment she muttered, “No.”  “Well, why not?” He quickly retorts.  Like any middle school student she actually replied correctly, “I don’t know, do you?”  Dad turns to the easily distracted ball of energy to his left and asks the same questions.  The replies were repeated once again.

It was his wife’s turn.  Made as well make it a perfect trifecta.  “Hey Babe, how about you, have you experienced God recently?”  She looked at her two offspring and replied, “Not with these two in the house.”

At this point all three are staring at their father and husband in disbelief.  He got em.  They had no idea what he was up to.  Come to think about it, he had no idea either.  He simply knew they claim the name of Jesus on Sunday but Jesus was hard to find any other hour of the week.  Something had to change.

“Well, I tell you what,” Dad got charged up.  “I’m going to ask these questions at least one day every week until God shows up.  When he does, I want you to share it with us so we can all enjoy God together.”  It took several weeks.  Slowly, the family began to respond.  The first question they started to answer was “Why not?”  The list of distractions began to grow.  All excuses and blames.  Dad didn’t argue.  He affirmed the struggle to find God amidst the hustle and bustle of life.

Eventually, weeks down the line, the youngest responded, “Yeah Dad, I did experience God.”  With a surprised look Dad asked him, “Share it with us I want to enjoy it with you.”  He did.  It was small but it was powerful.  The family began to share.  They began to talk about life.  They began to talk about Jesus.  Jesus showed up and it changed this one family forever.

Sometimes, we just don’t ask the right questions.

This morning I have the grandkids. It’s amazing how much energy they expend at 6:00 a.m. Their energy demands attention. Just the other day I let the 6 year old ball of energy stray a few minutes behind the house showing the neighbor our bird houses and feeders. Within a few minutes he was showing me his cut finger with blood dripping off his elbow. Let’s just say the rest of they night was lost. Life has a way of using up our greatest commodity.
What’s our greatest commodity? It’s not gold and silver even though we desire on financial stability. It’s not wheat and grains even though we do like good food especially those covered in chocolate. Maybe chocolate is the greatest commodity. No, not really. Some think a good spouse and a family is the greatest commodity. It can be in a sense. I won’t argue too long on that one. However, without the absolute greatest commodity we cannot enjoy our families. The greatest commodity in life is time. Time measures our life and we are all going to run out of it.
The older I get the more I realize the value of time. At the same time more and more things are stealing our time. Every relationship, job and element of life puts us on the clock. One thing we all need is time just to function. I no longer count the expense of things in dollars and cents. It’s minutes and hours that cost. At the same time it’s slipping away.
My greatest commodity, time, was stolen from me this very morning. Every senseless email, irrelevant text, and totally unimportant interruptions usually associated with my cell phone steals time. In this information age we think we are getting smarter by having so much information at our fingertips. We actually might be getting dumber since we can’t figure out how to control the thefts and don’t know how to use the information we get. The Bible calls that one wisdom. Smarter doesn’t mean wiser.
We forgot the law that says for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. For every second spent in vain and indeed useless response to a not so important beep, tone and blip, we are taking time away from something. Workplaces are clamping down on personal cell phone use. However, we are not clamping down on the usage in our personal life and it is taking time away from what is really important. our relationships especially family time is the debit column and we wonder why so many relationships go bankrupt.
Recently I was told that a family does not come to church because Sunday is no longer the Lord’s day. It’s Family day. I met up with them and asked when did God change his day to our day. They replied like so many in my office. “I don’t have enough time during the week so I feel God wants me to be with my family.” When I asked why didn’t he have enough time during the week I got no response. Equal and opposite reaction is not an illusion.
Why does it seem that God is so far away? It’s not God that is so far away. It’s man who is distracted. Remember the equal and opposite reaction thing. Right now as I write this article something is not getting my attention. Now, take that and apply it down to every email trying to see us things we don’t need, text messages that relate totally useless information, and let’s add the Snapchats, Tweets, Facebook posts and so on. They all say they are free services. Not true. They all have a cost and the clock is ticking.
The number one New Year’s resolution this year was less time on social media. I wonder how everyone is doing with that one? It’s time to come to a close, let me leave you with this…hold on I just got a text…

It’s time to get back to normalcy.  Christmas and New Years is over and the snow gave us a few more days to relax.  Hopefully we learned the South has a different way of dealing with a few inches of snow.  It’s called the “wait for the sun to come back out” approach.  I heard many complaints about the roads and sidewalks.  I don’t think the state nor businesses should or can stockpile snow supplies for a 30 year event.  Not only that, but when we expect others to make our way easy we lose any concept of personal responsibility.  I know this is a hot topic in our world.  It gets hotter when we can blame someone else for our lack of decision making skills and get reimbursed with a lot of money at the same time.

As I study cultural philosophies and trends I get amazed at the inconsistency of the current culture that functions in a relativistic mode.  For those who may not know, “Relativism is the philosophical position that all points of view are equally valid and that all truth is relative to the individual.”  In simple terms, truth is based on what each individual considers it to be at any given time and in any given place.   The Bible speaks about relativism and it’s thousands of years old.

In the book of Judges the nation of Israel was without a king.  In other words, authority had been abolished.  When authority is diminished “everyone did what was right in their own eyes.”  Relativism!  The problem with relativism is when our personal interpretation of truth, good and love has a foundation in pluff mud.

Today I had a fun discussion about being stuck in the pluff mud.  For Northerners that have yet to enjoy the knee to hip deep experience of trying to defy gravity while “walking” on the dark gooy stuff in our rivers just think one word…quicksand.  It’s mud and it’s as strong as melted butter only it looks and smells really bad.

Relativism says “I’m going to do what I want to do.”  I am the determiner of truth.  Unfortunately with the dependance upon the internet (lack of verification) combined with a cultural lack of trust for any type of authority, truth begins to take on many forms.  Let’s look at it in terms of the recent storm.

I want to go to the store.  It has just snowed four inches and the temperature is about 24 degrees.  Because I want to go to the store I believe I have the right to do what I want and society should make it possible.  Roads and sidewalks are to be cleared. It doesn’t matter that the recent snow is an anomaly.  What matters is my desire to get to the store.

If I wreck the car or slip on the ice I no longer want to live in relativism and take the personal responsibility of making a poor decision based on the truths that surrounds snow in the south since my truth trumps their truth. My truth has to become somebody else’s truth.  When it doesn’t match lets call a lawyer to settle the score.  It does not matter any longer that I made a poor decision.  If I can blame someone else for my inability to drive on icy roads, walk into a store that has an icy sidewalk then my truth has to become societal truth.  It gets worse.  We refuse to pay the cost to prepare for a 30 year event.  No, somebody else has to.  Why?  My financial stability is more important than your financial stability.

Eventually as seen throughout history any society that rejects absolute truth will collapse.  It has to.  Imagine the taxes for a county to be prepared for a 30 year snow.

All we are talking about is one snow storm and inconvenience for four days.  Take the concept and start applying it to the multiple layers of life.  When man does what is right in his own eyes the cost is oppressive.  Not only does it effect the pocketbook it effects something worse.  It effects our ability to love our neighbor and maintain relationships.

I went and saw “All the Money in the World” this weekend.  John Paul Getty is the epitome of relativism gone mad.  His biggest loss…his family.  As it was said in the movie the love of people is replaced by love of things.

What is the cracked foundation?  It is the loss of belief in the Son of God who said, “I am the way, the truth and the life.”  Take away the foundation that says “love God and your neighbor as yourself” (by the way, that’s the 10 Commandments) the only thing left is love of self.  What gets thrown away is our relationships, the very element societies are built upon.

The only way to stem the tide is to believe in the way of Christ who came to redeem.  He was redeeming what he created when man and God were in perfect unity and man and woman operated from that relationship.  That’s a foundation that does not fail.  He is putting us together.  Jesus is so much more than a way to stay out of hell.  He’s a way of life.  It’s about the relationship!

Next time…plan on staying put till the sun comes out and the temperature rises.  It’s not anybody’s fault if you end up in the ditch or flat on your back.  The truth is ice and snow makes life miserable and we don’t want to pay the price to be prepared for that “one” time.  That’s the truth and you can go to the bank on it.  Jesus said the same thing about himself only in different terms.