Saturday, January 28, 2017

The First Stone

      She was an easy target, a woman caught red-handed in the act of adultery. If this story had taken place today, they would have probably tweeted about her, and made lengthy Facebook posts about her scandalous life. We don't get many details of her story, but if she was a well known woman she would have probably made it to the evening news and even earned her own hashtag. Everyone would have been talking about her, everyone would have an opinion on the consequences she should or shouldn't face.
     But this was a long time ago, before social media was available. So, they did something far braver than engaging in internet gossip. They took her straight to Jesus. They proudly told Him of the acts she had been caught in, and reminded him of the laws that condemned her to be stoned to death. Thousands of years ago, followers of Jesus had already found that loophole that is still so popular today, the one that lets us put mercy and forgiveness in the backseat in the name of following laws and pursuing justice.
     Instead of telling these people they were right, and encouraging them to punish this woman for the sinful things she had done, Jesus knelt down and wrote in the dirt, and then he got up and spoke those words that so efficiently made these people swallow their pride and cancel the stone throwing party.

"Let him who is without sin throw the first stone."
     It is easy for me to look outward and find flaws in other people. What I find not so easy is looking inward and admitting my own flaws. I am someone who is fairly outspoken about being a Christian, and yet there are so many flawed areas of my life that I conveniently leave out most of the time.
     So as tempted as I am to join the crowd and use the platform of this blog to cast judgement on others under the pretense of being an outspoken Christian standing up for my beliefs, tonight I am reminded that I need to look inward first. I will point you towards a post I wrote recently entitled "Brown Eyes", only because it feels relevant right now. You can take from it what you will, and I will leave it at that.
 This post will lose potential comments and likes because it is not controversial. It does not call anyone out, nor does it put anyone else on a pedestal. I admire well worded pieces of writing that provide insight on what is happening in the world and take a convicting stand. That is what I initially sat down to write, but I simply cannot call out others with a clear conscious when there is so much I need to work on within myself.
     I am far from being without sin, so I will put down my stones and walk away. I can only hope that when I am the one who the stones are being aimed towards, there will be others who choose to do the same.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Puzzle Pieces

     I love words. I love learning new words, and using the ones I already know to express myself and calm my often overactive mind. Most of the time, writing comes very easily to me, but every once in a while I get stuck. I don't call it writers block, because to me, writers block is when you don't know what you want to say. I do know what I want to say, I just don't know exactly how to say it. But I have a compulsion to try, and so that is what I am doing.
Travelling to Togo and living there for three weeks was experience that changed me, and then I came back to a place that had not changed at all. I came back to a familiar routine, and people that know me well. I came back to my family, my friends, my job, and in many ways that was a positive thing. But there is a flip side to all of those positives, For many people, it would probably be easy, and even comforting, to return to a familiar life. Three weeks doesn't sound like a long time, but three weeks in a new country was enough to change something within me, something that so far I have been unable to put my finger on.
     It's as if my life here was a puzzle that I had always fit right into, but when I came back one of my edges had been bent and torn just a little bit, so that piece that fit perfectly before was now unable to fit back in all the way. Not enough to ruin the whole puzzle, but enough to make a noticeable imperfection in the once smooth picture. So where do I go from here? Do I try to fit my piece back in, or do I accept the fact that this particular puzzle is one I no longer fit into?
     I don't know what comes next. I don't have any wise words about the lessons I've learned from these feelings, because I am still in the process of learning them. I do know that not fitting into this puzzle doesn't bother me as much as it once did, and that feels like a step in the right direction.