Enough is enough
January 31, 2011
If you are in any way like me, there are times when you simply turn and say to yourself, “Enough already!” Enough of the day-to-day stuff that seems to permeate every waking moment. Enough violence, enough blaming, enough of this powerless feeling.
One of my favorite Scriptures is Paul’s words to himself, “For I know that nothing good dwells within me, that is, in my flesh. I can will what is right, but I cannot do it. For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I do,” Romans, 7:18-19.
The reason I call this “favored” is because it describes me so well. As much as I want to believe that we will somehow change our ways and become a kinder and gentler people, the more I am reminded of all the inhumanity we do to each other each and every day. In the past few weeks several law enforcement officers have lost their lives not in huge drug busts but in routine traffic stops, the most dangerous time for an officer, in part, because their guard is down. When is my guard down? When am I not doing that which I need to be doing to witness the love of God I preach so often?
Perhaps I am more sensitive to this conundrum because lately I have had to address my deep desire to hold on to people who I love while letting them return to God who loves them more. I really do not like remembering my friends at memorial services. I would much rather have them with me to share one more round of golf or hear one more story about their growing up or listen to yet another exaggerated truth about the fish that got away.
Yet, death is real. And in the midst of death we have perhaps the greatest gift of all to share, the opportunity to remember how much God loves us by giving us so many amazing souls with which to share this life journey. I often turn to another passage from my friend and teacher Paul when he was struggling with what he called the thorn in his side: “Three times I appealed to the Lord about this, that it would leave me, but he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness.’ So I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me,” 2 Corinthians, 12:8-9,
So it is that I realize that we are all, after all, human and flawed people. Loved beyond anything we can ever deserve or desire, we can but receive and say thank you. So let us return to complete the first thought I cited from Paul, “Wretched man that I am. Who will rescue me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord,” Romans, 7:24-25.
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Thanks indeed. The world is in better hands than ours.
The Rev. Pete Nelson of Carson Valley United Methodist Church is a member of the Carson Valley Ministers’ Association.