Wednesday, October 14, 2009

The Letter Kills*

*2 Corinthians 3:6

Those who know me well know that I'm a generally punky person, and that feelings of resignation occasionally catalyze me into a sarcastic person. Over the past few days, I might describe my mood as sarcastic.

This attitude accompanies a personal legalism overhaul, which began two weekends ago, when Chris and I were visiting Colorado Springs for a friend's lovely autumn wedding.

The wheels in my head were turning as I watched wedding guests flock to the open bar and move wildly about on the dance floor. It was quite innocent, all things considered, but the sight of drinking and dancing in general prompted me to thoughts about being "worldly-wise" versus being "green." As I considered my self, I felt utterly naive and a little bit stupid. I felt like the odd one out, suddenly unable to relate to people. I felt as if I had missed out on understanding most of humanity because of my sheltered lifestyle of conservative values.

Chris saw my eyes--crowded with these things--scanning the crowd. He asked me what was up. I told him I felt as if I'd spent years trying to be "good," all for nothing. Why didn't I just give up and go crazy, tasting life as I never had before?

As we talked through it, he assured me that many Christians experience a season in which they question why they make such an effort to live righteously. I was reminded of men in the Bible who cried to God that their good works seemed to no avail; the wicked, rather than the good, were rewarded with the best lives.

In addition, I began to understand that my response was a revolt not against the Christ-likeness I so strongly believe in, but against good as its own end, which is legalism. I was and am sick of legalism, which is an excellent place to be.

Ay, there's the rub. The trick is balancing my healthy disgust with godly thought: Putting away mental self-flagellation, hopelessness and the cynicism that brings resignation and sarcasm with it.

The letter may kill, but the Spirit brings life!

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