The Internet made its grand return to my household yesterday. But after 3 weeks without it (and without reliable cell phone service to boot), I had begun to grow accustomed to the change of pace.
It wasn’t all that bad! Isolating? Indeed. Yet, human souls crave an occasional respite from being and doing in the world– especially the world of social media.
This place I now call home is steeped in solitude. I’ve spent this time in intentional reconnection to the natural world, and in blissful awe of the hidden genius of created things.
Every morning (weather permitting), I get to retreat to a stand of trees bordering the lake– Bible in hand– and perched upon a rocky outcropping, spend my devotional time listening.
Listening to the bare branches above me sway along with the crisp autumn wind. Listening to the water lap at the trunks of fallen trees on the lake’s edge below.
Here, I’m reminded daily that, I too am a created thing.
“When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers,
the moon and the stars that you have established;
what are human beings that you are mindful of them,
mortals that you care for them?
Yet you have made them a little lower than God,
and crowned them with glory and honor.
You have given them dominion over the works of your hands;
you have put all things under their feet”
Psalm 8:3-6 (NRSV)
I am not God.
Nor am I a god.
And yet, the fact that human beings have been granted dominion on Earth is enough for all of us to forget that we are but mortal.
If I believe in the immortality of my soul (and, I do), I have already stepped over the bounds of human dominion. Too many of us forget that only God has Eternal dominion.
Which is why I find such peace in the natural world. Even here, among the fleeting nature of temporal, physical things– the Creator’s wisdom abounds. If such care and concern has been poured into transient beings, how much more is ready and waiting for us that are being created to partake in Eternity!
And so, I have been putting much thought into the nature of being human.
In every time and place, the human condition plays out in familiar ways… however, the depth of our understanding of the human condition is an unique expression of our individual relation to God.
Only the Creator can reveal the true nature of the individual works of His hands. And we are not all created, as individuals, to reflect the same aspects of God’s Eternal wisdom. It is all of us together– each one being who we are created to be and doing what God wills for each to do– that gives humanity the fullest sense of who God is. The expressed viewpoint of a foot will differ from that of an ear, but both are equally true. Even if they are both equally as short-sighted.
The Apostle Paul states this most clearly:
But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each one of them as he chose. If all were a single member, where would the Body be? As it is, there are many members, yet one body. The eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you,” nor again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.”
1 Corinthians 12:18-21 (NRSV, boldface mine)
What right have I to judge the use and value of members that appear utterly different from myself?
This question makes all the difference. For, in judging those that are not me, I am actually avoiding the truth about myself– that, I’m not God. If I am busy taking upon my finite self a task belonging wholly to God alone, I am necessarily neglecting my duty to be and do according to God’s will for me. Therein lies the nature of the sin of judging others. If I am focused on living out who I am in Christ, my focus will be on doing His will.
As a still finite being, I lack the resources to both be and do in Christ and judge other members from my own perspective. Committing fully to one excludes the human possibility of the other.
Coming full circle, and reflecting on what this all means to me, it means it is necessary for me to forgive and/or let go of everything that is beyond my human limit, if I truly intend to honor God. I cannot hold a grudge and store up wrath for those I believe are wrong, or have wronged me, and be who I am while doing God’s will for me.
It’s an impossibility.
I can be and do, or I can judge and condemn. I cannot do both.
Here’s to choosing to honor God over honoring my own wounded ego:)