Power, Forgiveness and Humility

Dan’s Posting: I think it was the Greeks who believed in catharsis – that cleansing of excess passions could occur through visualizing their true nature. I hope this commentary will have the same affect, only on the author not the reader.

“Every man’s way is right in his own eyes, but the Lord weighs the hearts.” – Proverbs 21:2 (3:10 to Yuma anyone?)

Reconciliation is a tough thing. God must be a patient being, waiting to restore us on our terms so that His mercy can be shown. Just think, since the fall all His efforts have been exhaustively geared towards the reconciliation of man. He first sought to redeem us through the law. From His omniscience, He anticipated the laws’ weakness and a need for Jesus to supersede the law with the gift of freedom. “Therefore, my brethen, you also were made to die to the Law through the body of Christ, that you might be joined to another, to Him who was raised from the dead, that we might bear fruit for God.” – Romans 7:4

But, now that the groundwork is in place, where are we? As Christians, are we living with the glorious expectation of His return and our complete restoration or are our appetites so distorted that we crave things so much less elegant and filling than we are offered? As a nation are we not still where MLK hoped to champion us out of? Isn’t Lawndale still segregated 40 years later?

This is where I know I’m failing. It torments me at work where I have taken the reigns of a scheduling nightmare from 2 African American ladies. Trying to be sensitive, I developed a sophisticated plan to slowly ease the control from them and help transition it to our nurses. I knew my skin and youth were offensive to their sweat-stained scrubs and years of war stories. So I offered for them to be involved, thinking to lessen the offense. When they refused and cursed my mother’s womb, I said, “The heck with it” and moved on. This only widened the fault lines and left me with terrible communication, bitterness, resentment and disharmony. Now, I’m caught making a daily schedule for the clinic with no desire to do it long term and with flashing eyes anticipating any opportunity to balk when I stumble.

I don’t believe my mistake was in lack of hope, effort or sincerity. I think it had to do with assuming my ways were compromising. I wish I would have listened to these women more – even if I didn’t believe their words – just to let them be heard. I think they needed to learn that I could be trusted first; that I am not just a passerby trying to fix their problems with no plans to live out my solutions. I sense that I have yet to learn what power means to an oppressed people. I want to understand the assumptions Blacks make towards Whites as “authority” figures, why the janitors I respect at work call me “Sir.” Now I need to learn again what it is to be broken. I know that the way of the cross is not stubborn pride, but a humble dismissal of all that was before and an extraordinary leap towards how things ought to be.

I realize now why God has needed to try so many times with us. I respect His relentlessness so much more now that I’m strained and cashed out. Oh, if we only knew what it meant to be pursued so passionately by a God whom we have never have ceased to offend! What kind of coworker would I be then?

Please forgive an obscurity – avoiding the details of the situation meant philosophizing rather than spitting it out.

“We know that, when He appears, we shall be like Him, because we shall see Him just as He is. And everyone who has this hope fixed on Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.” – 1 John 3:2b-3

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2 responses to “Power, Forgiveness and Humility

  • Adam

    love ya danny…thanks for being so honest. you are doing great things in lawndale!

  • Taido

    Dan,
    Do you remember me? I ‘manage’ the facility which housed the Pingus Pong courts.
    I so very much appreciate you sharing your struggle to pursue the Christ-life as it relates to race. Our church is in the midst of trying to sort this out as an entire congregation. And as you might imagine, we’re learning some of the same hard lessons you are learning. A book that we’ve asked people to read is Winning the Race to Unity, and it has been enlightening for many.
    Ok, thanks again for sharing and may you experience much success as you pursue God’s heart on this!

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