I’m pretty sure I’ve written something like this again, but whatever, it’s on my mind again so that’s how it goes.
You know what I believe changes people most: grace. Or at least, that’s what changes me most. I love the first hundred pages of Les Miserables, where the bishop redeems Valjean with an act of grace. I remember a talk given at IV frosh year where the speaker drew the most wrong conclusion from this story. The bishop says to Valjean, “Tonight, I have bought your soul for God.” The speaker’s conclusion was that we should similarly buy other peoples’ souls for God. Essentially, spend money on their salvation.
Uh, no. The larger point is, grace powerfully changes people. I would say more than anything else. That’s why I think the Bible says that it’s the kindness of God that leads us to repentance. That’s what moves people. I think because it’s so contrary to the ways of the world. In light of how the world is, grace is so shocking it’s moving.
Which gets me to a pet peeve of mine. I dunno, sometimes people have experiences that are wonderful and everything. And that’s great, bully for them. But then they take it to another level, they develop this complex where everyone has to have the same experience and understanding that they have. I feel almost belittled because I’m not doing what they’re doing. As if I’m just less mature and understanding. And maybe that’s true. But they don’t need to be so arrogant about it.
I dunno, Dave does this kinda with his everyone must go to Korea thing but I think that’s different. For two reasons. One, because it’s a friend. I dunno, it’s like the dealbreaker thing. Things that would normally be dealbreakers you’re willing to overlook when you like a girl. It’s similar with friends I think. Things that would normally annoy you in a dealbreaking way with other people you’re more willing to overlook when it’s a friend. It’s not fair, but it’s true.
But more than that, I dunno, I don’t think Dave’s being arrogant about it. Maybe I’m wrong, but that’s just the impression I get. It’s just, he had a good experience, and he wants other people to share in the good things. And I’m sure that’s a part of other peoples’ desire also. Just, they take it further. It’s not just they want others to know what they know, or do what they do. It’s that if you don’t, you’re just sadly lacking or mistaken.
I dunno, maybe it’s my natural defensiveness, but that just doesn’t seem right to me. It’s like it ignores the possibility that God leads people to different things. And though it might not appear so superficially, it’s no less noble or holy. I fully believe that God calls people to be secretaries. It’s work that needs to be done, and it only makes sense that God would call godly people to fulfill that work. And in that case, it’s no less noble or holy than someone, say, working at a homeless shelter. They’re both holy parts of the body of Christ.
But whatever, I just think there are a lot of eyes out there that look down on the spleens, if you catch my meaning. People who believe that everyone should have the same concerns and calling that they do.
Another possibility is that they’re right, that everyone should have the same understanding that they do. But even then, geez, you could show some grace. Again, I believe that’s what changes people most. At least for me. It’s what changed me most in the beginning and it’s what continues to change me most. Just the pure shock of grace. I just think there are ways to encourage without being arrogant.
As always, I’m a complete hypocrite. I mean, fully and totally. I use this page a lot like a pulpit, trying to change everyone to my way of thinking. I dunno, I’ll still try to do that, but in a way that extends grace. At least, that’s my hope. I’m a hypocrite in marriage also, to share a little. I just realize that what makes me want to change most isn’t nagging. Far from it. It’s the fact that Jieun accepts me completely for who I am. Even knowing what I am. That’s what makes me want to be better. Weird, huh? You’d think it would make me want to be more lazy. And on some level that’s true. But on a deeper level, it makes me want to be better, to be more worthy of that acceptance. And yet, I still have so much trouble extending that same grace. Argh, I’m a punk.
So anyway, what’s on my mind is, my main prayer requests right now are that I be less selfish and that I extend more grace. Not that anyone is praying for me. It’s just on my mind.
Road trip wrapups will come someday. It’s just hard because it’s so boring.