I learn when I pay attention to my thoughts while doing dishes. Life teaches you to hold yourself accountable and give yourself dignity was the thought I had tonight while doing the dishes. I was feeling bad about skipping Spanish class both times this week, but it was my wife’s birthday one of those nights and another night the Spirit moved me to spend time with my wife and daughter. Family has been front and center because of a COVID scare in one of my brother’s families that led to his wife being hospitalized in the ICU, and their precious daughter being delivered C-section. She wasn’t due until October. She’s doing really well in the NICU, and her mom is improving. Please keep my brother and his family in your prayers.
Life goes on even in the face of crisis, and humble tasks like doing the dinner dishes remain with all the existential questions. Lies and shame will enter your thinking anytime, and it becomes necessary to hold those thoughts accountable. If you don’t they can be a run-away train that jumps the tracks, and believe you me there’s no dignity found at the end.
I persevered through getting the dishes done, and it was therapeutic as I forced myself to shave and shower to return being with my wife and daughter in person. That whole routine would have been done had I gone to Spanish minus being with my family as we watched Friends. My trade-off was chosen wisely.
Accountability and dignity were factored into the existential questions I pondered, and I reflect back with pride and dignity in myself without the lies of shame that were attacking me as I washed the dishes. It’s possible an evil angel was at work in my home, but the power of the Holy Spirit overcame it. Never underestimate the power of the prayer repeated, “Come Holy Spirit.” Believer, the Spirit will not only hold you accountable for action you should take, but she will infuse you with dignity when shame infiltrates your thinking. There are so many paradoxes in the Christian faith, but I think this one is pivotal in our walk. There’s a fine line between accountability and justifying sin, but in the frame of mind that takes a high view of Proverbs 3.5-6 don’t overthink it. We can make long-term plans, like learn a language, but those plans can be disrupted for the greater good. Can fear masquerade as the greater good? Of course it can, but when you are intent on listening to the voice of the Holy Spirit accountability and dignity will show up. I’m committed to learning Spanish, but I’m more committed to my family. As I learned in Colorado many years ago I will never sacrifice my family on the altar of my career.
Fear caused Abraham to throw Sarah under the bus more than once when it came to life or death. The high road is fraught with temptation, but the narrow road is where accountability and dignity are truly found. Temptation guises itself with what evil poses as good, but it’s anything but. We are increasingly living in times like Sodom and Gomorrah, and that statement is not melo-dramatic. Bad is called good, and good is called bad. This situation must be addressed in our families. If you aren’t present evil has a better chance of taking root. That doesn’t mean you don’t go out of town on business. Once again the paradox of life glides upon our runways.
There is no fear in love, but perfect love drives out fear because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.1 John 4.18
Jesus was afraid. Read the account in the Garden of Gethsemane. We will fight fear, but even in the that we must become like Jesus, put one foot in front of the other, and say not my will but yours be done. The Father rewards perfect love, and we are capable of perfect love even when the voices of ungodly fear do their worst.
Father, we are your children. We are consumed with your presence because there is no place we can go where you are not. Hold us accountable dear LORD. Give us dignity. Show us the perfect love that casts out fear and even replaces it with courage that can only come from you. We love you, and we depend on you for every breath. In Jesus name amen.