Good in the Mess

I write when I have something to write, which is usually in response to something I have read.  With almost no time to read at all, I have had a “writer’s block” of sorts, and since anything I come up with on my own is bound to be utter nonsense, I have not really attempted a blog post in a while.  At least none that I am willing to share!  So tonight, I am soaking up some verses on doing good, because as I wash the dishes and fold more laundry and wipe some unknown stickiness off of bathroom walls the words pounding in my head are these: “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” (Galatians 6:9)  And it isn’t the dishes, or the dirty clothes or the sticky messes that make me weary, but the messes that I can’t clean… The messes running through my mind that soapy water won’t wash away.  The ones I want to fix but have no control over.  You know.  “Those” messes.

So I close my eyes and silently ask, “What is the good? What am I not supposed to grow weary of? What am I supposed to do when my hands are tied and I feel helpless?” And the answer falls gently and swiftly on my heart, “He has shown you, oh mortal, what is good.  And what does the Lord require of you?  To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.”  So simple. And so hard.  It is an answer, the answer, but I go to bed still feeling undone about it all.  I pull a book off the shelf and read just a little to help me fall asleep, and am startled when I read these words:

“If I am to rid myself of anything that may contaminate body or spirit, then I can give no place in my life to jealousy, bitterness, resentment, or selfishness.  I am always called to practice gentleness, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, and self-control.  Someone else’s sin never gives me the license to respond with sin…  Every decision I make, every word I utter, every thought I think, every movement I perform, is to flow out of one holy motivation: reverence for God.” (Gary Thomas, Devotions for a Sacred Marriage)

I suppose God in His infinite mercy knew I needed a little clarification…. A little further explanation of the “too simple” answer He whispered at first.  Act justly.  Love mercy.  Walk humbly.  No jealousy, bitterness, resentment, selfishness…  Always kind, good, faithful, self-controlled.  This is the filter through which to view my own thoughts, words, and actions. Are they contaminating and polluting the relationships in my life? Or are they a reflection of His goodness?  It is HIS goodness.  That is what I am not to grow weary of… Reflecting HIS goodness.  Not trying to manufacture some of my own. Wouldn’t that really be just a pile of dirty rags in comparison, anyway?  And I feel the pressure lift… because I know this Goodness firsthand.  How it weaves its way through the mess and brings dark to light and dead to life.  And I can rest in this:  it isn’t up to me. I need only be a willing and broken vessel for it to shine through.

“Whoever wants to embrace life
      and see the day fill up with good,
   Here’s what you do:
      Say nothing evil or hurtful;
   Snub evil and cultivate good;
      run after peace for all you’re worth.
   God looks on all this with approval,
      listening and responding well to what he’s asked;
   But he turns his back
      on those who do evil things.”

                                                 ~1Peter 3:10-12


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