What’s in The Box 2

So, what is in the box that makes you you?

Human kind has been philosophizing on this topic from dim ages past. Are we simply animal machines of a slightly higher order, with not much more value than a lemming? There are people who believe this, which helps to explain their attitude about everything from abortion, to infanticide to euthanasia. With no moral code, with man having no value greater than a mouse, it makes no difference whether we keep or throw away our offspring. Or Grandma. There is in their mind, therefore, nothing to declare right vs. wrong… except of course if you should rape or threaten their children. Suddenly they are finding they do believe some things are inherently right, with other things totally wrong. However, their commitment to the idea that there is no moral code outside of themselves, and that we are evolved animals only, is so strong that they develop split brain thinking when faced with harm that touches them. This becomes necessary when you believe two opposing views; unless the beliefs are compartmentalized, the brain cannot process or hold both at the same time.

Many people believe that man is made up of body and soul. The soul is a rather vague concept of the life force which departs at death as the body returns to the earth. There is a general belief that there is a God somewhere, that he started the whole thing, and if we behave right and do good our soul will find eternal bliss somewhere when we die. If anyone brings up the word ‘spirit’ it is assumed to be a synonym for soul.

There is general agreement that there is a standard, or absolute, outside of ourselves which declares that some things are good, and to be pursued, and other things are bad or off limits. Some care enough about eternal bliss to try to behave themselves; others find the effort too great and decide early on the whole thing is a farce, or that they are doomed anyway, so let’s eat, drink and be merry. Devil take the hindmost. Regardless of their response to life, most in this group truly know there is a standard which they fail to meet on a regular basis. There is often much striving to appease the somewhere God to earn points which will admit them to the eternal beyond. Their prayers are directed to the God Out There, hoping that somehow they will be heard and helped.

A third group is of people who have seen and believed the words of the Bible in 1 Thessalonians “May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.” What? There’s a difference between the spirit and the soul? The 
Bible declares it to be so, in fact using different words in the Greek and Hebrew for each. They are not interchangeable words for the same reality, but describe distinctly different parts of our being.

On the basis of Biblical truth I understand that in each of our packaging there is a spirit and a soul as well as our body. Each has an important part to play in developing who we are and who we are destined to become. Someone has well said: “We are a spirit, we have a soul and we live in a body.” Since each is important, it behooves us to unpack the topic more fully. Our (successful) lives depend on it.

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What’s In The Box

Sometimes when I have bought some electronic gadget (oh, where my money goes!) the box will have a “What’s in the Package” list. It might be *Main item, *Adapter, *Cord, *Stand, *Instruction manual. In case of “Some Assembly Required” (don’t you just love those) the list may have things like 6 bolts, washers and wrench included.

These lists are helpful as a check to see if everything really was included, or if anything else is needed to make it work. Perhaps a nice accessory can be added, or you need a longer cable, but the What’s in the Box list lets you know your starting point.

Every person is a unique package, a designer’s work, that has been put together with capabilities and purpose known best by the designer. The underscored word here is unique. My packaging is not like yours, nor yours like your brother, spouse, parent. We arrive on earth with
everything that is in the box, but we have no list that comes with us.

Now the problem arises. What is this thing for? How is it used? Does it take pictures or clean ceiling fans, wash the laundry or heat the house, write sonatas or heal the sick? Having no idea what is in the box, many parents begin to use the object in a wrongful way which brings ruination to the object and displeasure to everyone. Picture trying to mop the floor with a candelabra. Bake a loaf of bread on the music box. Paint the walls with a hammer.

The result of this misuse is often ruined lives and a huge loss to our mutual society. Tales abound of parents shoving children toward a career of medicine or law when what is in their package is an ability to craft magnificent things with their hands. Forced to work in a field unsuited to their design, people move into emotional disease of anger, depression, and sense of failure. The reality is, they do fail because that is not what is in their box.

Some children are born to care-less parents who neither treasure them, nor help them explore their unique package. The child, trying to sort out what life is all about, begins to reason: If these big important people don’t like me, or hurt me, there must be something terribly wrong with me. The child seldom if ever thinks that there is something wrong with the big adult. The little one concludes that whatever is in his box is wrong, terribly wrong. The seed of self-hatred has been sown, leading to a diseased adult who self-medicates his or her pain in all sorts of self-destructive ways.

One answer to the growing problem of malfunctioning adults is to begin with the unexplored package, looking for what’s inside and then using it correctly. What part of society will begin to teach into this, stressing the need to see each package as valuable? From where I sit, only the church has any clue about the worth of each life. Yet some churches in attempting to turn out cookie cutter Christians fail to understand the uniqueness of each individual, thus contributing to the problem.

It is vital that we each begin to look inside our own boxes, recognize the enormous value therein. Then we can begin to live fully satisfying lives, sharing with others and contributing our gift to the world.

Revelation

Don’t you love those moments of revelation, those times when the lightbulb over your head is switched on? In an instant you KNOW something you hadn’t known before; you see a side to an issue that had never crossed your mind; you recognize a veil has been removed which you didn’t even realize was there.

To have a deeper understanding suddenly flood in is not the work of agonizing study, research and sitting under hours of brilliant teaching, all of which are worthy endeavors. Some ‘revelations’ can come from letting bits of knowledge percolate and simmer on the back burner, as it were, until the mind manages to connect the dots. This is actually advanced problem solving rather than true revelation.

Revelation means simply something revealed, something that could not be known by human reasoning, something that had to come from outside oneself. Those are treasures not easily dislodged once received, especially when the new insight is contrary to previously held beliefs. Then you know you could not have made it up to self-delude, a favorite practice for most of us. Jesus says in John 14:26 “But the Counselor, Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.” Revelation comes through and from Holy Spirit of God, and is therefore Truth, as He is Truth.

All of this is to introduce a revelation I received in my living room a few years ago. Simple at first look, it is profound. “No one knows all there is to know about anything. That includes the Bible, themselves, others, God.”

Since this is so, there is absolutely no right or place for anyone to make a judgment about others. No place for self-righteous declarations of what and who God is – other than what He has self-revealed, of course. No place for huffy, stuffy attitudes about “My translation of the Bible is the only true one!” Certainly there can be no certainty about the motivations and inner heart of the people around us.

If we all put down our swords of accusations wouldn’t the world, at least our personal world, be a better place? Just remember, when you think you know it all, you don’t. When you realize how little you know, you are on the road to wisdom. Selah.

An alternative Fry-up

In the face of pain, in all of life we have a choice: defiance or trust. This borrowed blog says far better than I what I believe as truth.

Steadfast Reflections

You may well have seen it. Lots of people are sharing it around the web. Some are hailing it as a tour de force of irrefutable statements against the worship of God.

Yes, I’m talking about that video of Stephen Fry giving voice to his objection to God: people suffer. Specifically, children suffer. Therefore, he concludes, God is a monster, an evil and stupid being of such mean-minded and selfish caprice that he deserves no respect.

It’s a rather vehement and crude way of restating a problem that people have been talking about for centuries, with much thought, many tears, and considerable energy. Bizarrely, despite the fact that Fry says nothing new, or particularly creative, this short video seems to represent for many a visionary and powerful support for their disbelief in and/or hatred of God.

So, I’ve decided to offer my own few thoughts on a couple of problems…

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