About that One Who Pushes You

Take a moment and think of someone who was part of your life who was also hard on you, personally. Maybe it was a parent — always riding you about your laziness. Or maybe it was a teacher — always nagging you concerning your academic performance. Or maybe it was a good friend who was always on your case about something in your life where you weren’t doing as well as you could have done.

Do you have that person in your mind? Good. Let’s call him Chauncey.

Now consider this question: Why was Chauncey so hard on you? Did Chauncey hate you? Probably not. Was it because Chauncey wanted to ridicule you? I doubt it. Was Chauncey generally obnoxious? Not really.

Here’s what I have noticed about myself: I am generally the most frustrated with the people in whom I see the greatest potential. If I see little potential in someone, I have small expectations of them. If I see great potential in someone, and I see time passing by without them pursuing their potential, I become disturbed — for their sake. And the degree of anger I feel concerning this shortcoming in their life will correspond with the depth of my love for them.

In chapter five of his excellent book, The Reason for God, Tim Keller considers the question, How can a loving God be an angry God? As he addresses this, Keller points out that when you have love, you are bound to have anger against anything that injures what you love. Keller quotes Becky Pippert, who writes, Anger isn’t the opposite of love. Hate is, and the final form of hate is indifference. I get that, because it is generally those that I love the most and wish the best for with whom I become the most frustrated.

This helps explain why some say, “I feel more acceptance from my drinking buddies than I feel from the people I go to church with.” Sometimes this is a matter of projection — the speaker is projecting a disposition onto his church family that most of them do not own. Other times it’s a matter of “Christians” being overly-critical. That happens.

But there’s a third explanation: Maybe his drinking buddies don’t really want the best for him or the best of him. Maybe they want nothing more from him than for him to be a good old boy. In contrast, maybe his brothers and sisters in Christ want the best for him and the best of him. And when he fails to pursue that very thing, the friends who love him most let him know.

Could this be the explanation for the behavior of Chauncey — the person that pressures you toward better things?

And whether it is the explanation or not, how would your life be different if you were to see those who press for the best for you and in you as an ally?

Choices

Seen on a friend’s Facebook…

Choices

She’s spot on. Over and over again, I see people making bad choices — repeatedly, carelessly, and intentionally. The results vary, from causing a small problem to ruining an entire life.

My good friend, Rev. Bernie Knefley, writes a regular column that he emails to some of us. I appreciate his perspective and try to tell him so each time. This time, however, I really connected with what he said. I post it here with his permission…. and no further comment.

Choices
by Pastor B.J. Knefley

A lot can be said about choices. They’re happening all the time. Some are good, and some are not. Many affect not just the person who’s making them, but others as well. We don’t often think about how our choices affect the life of others, but they do.

Taking responsibility for choices is another thing. Many don’t want to do that. Instead they blame others for what’s happening rather than taking responsibility for their choices. Consequences are the result of choices and sometimes they’re not pleasant. They’re normal things that happen when we make choices. Consequences teach us to make better choices. Have you ever noticed how selfish people can be in their choices? Like they’re the only people that matter?

I got up this morning and told my wife I wanted to take today as a vacation day. I know, how can a retired person take a vacation day, isn’t everyday a vacation? Well no, not really. There are always things to do, places to go and people to see. I have at least two appointments in my schedule today that, although not unpleasant appointments, obligations none the less. I guess my wife didn’t hear me or take me seriously as she’s gone into town to shop. So I decided to write. I guess the vacation day is out the window, at least for now.

Maybe you’re wondering why I’m writing about choices. Simply because I’m tired this morning, tired of having to deal emotionally, physically, and spiritually with the choices of others. Choices that I have no control over, yet affect me anyway. And in these, more than I would like. To make matters worse, they don’t seem to want to take responsibility and accept the consequences that come with their choices. It’s almost as if they think that their choice was no big deal. Sadly, if they don’t get a handle on things they’ll probably make the same poor choices again.

For me, and you if you’re in the same place, [the solution] is to seek solitude and comfort in his presence. Hence my reason for a vacation day. Sometimes we just need to quiet our surroundings. Think about it.

~Pastor Steve