"So," they say, "nobody's perfect!"
But the Vinedresser won't buy that.
Given the opportunity, He will trim the unproductive suckers and shape the branches so each one will bask in Sonlight.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

"Your OTHER right!"
Proverbs 16:25 KJV There is a way that seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.
            That any Scripture verse should ever become cliché is a shame. That a Scripture verse containing such a dire warning should become cliché is a tragedy.
            Long, long ago in a city far, far away, an ambitious young fellow and his brother built a Heathkit color TV. When they finished the project and plugged it in, nothing happened. Absolutely nothing. So they switched into expert troubleshooting mode and checked the internal fuse. While it seemed okay, they even tried replacing it, exhausting their troubleshooting expertise.
            Thirty-odd bucks(a fortune in the '60s) and twenty-odd repaired and redirected connections later, we picked up our perfectly functioning Heathkit color television. Turns out, while Michael and I thought we were following the detailed instructions ... we hadn't. Our lesson? "The complexity of a project is inversely proportional to its likelihood of success."
            What could be more complex than a human being? To work correctly, all its uncountable parts must operate in perfect harmony. What's more, its body, mind and spirit must also function harmoniously. Together, all those variables make a color TV seem as complex as a wooden block. Yet, we come into this life with less direction than an ant crawling across the floor. Our earliest priorities? Stomach, bottom, and love, in that order.
            Typically, our priorities don't change much as we mature into childhood, adolescence and adulthood. We've all witnessed the behavior of childish and adolescent-behaving "adults," fixated on their stomachs(gluttony), their bottoms(toilet humor), and finding love(promiscuity). So, what went wrong with God's "very good" (Genesis 1:31) creation?
            Such misdirection is hardly our Creator's fault. He saw to our correct assembly—ten fingers, ten toes, etc. He even made us in His own image, with a body, a mind, and a spirit—each subject to the control of our unique, personal volition. And since we were able to make choices, He provided a guide to our complete personhood in His word, our Bible.
            So, if it's not God's fault, whose fault is it? Answering that question is like explaining why a meteorite flamed through our atmosphere and landed on a certain person's home.
            We find the short answer in one word: "Sin." The S word plagues all creation, even the innocents. Unfair? Yes. Wrong? No, because no one who is old enough to disobey is truly innocent.
            Experts* have long disputed the exact nature of our first parents; were they Adam and Eve, or an evolved species of bipedal primates? Did Eve, in fact, take a bite of the forbidden fruit, or was the first sin some more generic form of disobedience?
            Despite the controversy surrounding our origins, unbiased observers must admit to a fundamental glitch plaguing humanity's character. We don't know exactly how long Man walked his world before yielding to temptation, but God had given him just one prohibition, one rule, one "commandment," and presto-change-o, we became a race of liars, and worse.
            Anyone who remains unconvinced of mankind's fundamental sin-nature need only observe the small child, fist locked around a forbidden cookie, emphatically denying his disobedience. Is that so different from Eve biting into the forbidden fruit?
            Indeed, our human situation seems unfair, and would be, if the Eternal, Self-existent God had not given us a way to escape our just deserts. That divinely provided way is not a process, method, philosophy, or religion. It is, in fact, a person; John 3:16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life. 17 For God sent not His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. (Another essential Bible passage that we have reduced to trivia)
            To rely on our innate sense of rightness for direction in life invites all kinds of corruption and abuse, as exemplified by the hurtful behavior of religious and political zealots. Our "other" right is God's way; the one standard that never changes, to please and glorify the one God that never changes. Therein lies our true fulfillment and our destiny.

* Alternatively: ex-spurt. Definition: A has-been drip under pressure.

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