Our family vacation last month was amazing. Crazy-good meals! I mean super good cooking was part of the joy.
We enjoyed boats, swimming, cards, movies, games, sleeping in, beautiful weather, but also due to excellent cooks, GREAT cooking and therefore meals and treats!
We got along rather well, not perfectly of course, but honestly well.
Throughout the world, plenty of families do not.
Both in and out of the church we see the disintegration of marriage, family, community and of course various ministries, bands, choirs, mission groups and you-name-it -broken relationships.
Societies of all sorts navigate change, make decisions and basically sow, reap and whatever happens, happens.
It seems to me bad cooking is one of the scourges of the earth! I am not kidding.
You want a “recipe” to kill? Here it comes. I call it “self-cannibalization”.
This is the self-talk when mixed well and often, destroys like nothing else can:
“How do I feel? What do I want? How come I’m not getting… How do I look? What does he/she (what do they) think of me? How come I can’t get a break? I’m not getting what I DESERVE! Nobody notices ME! Why did she/he/they get that and not me? Don’t they realize how special I am? Hey, this isn’t fair!”
The world isn’t fair. Sin is in the world. Sin and sinners aren’t fair.
Very apparently really horrible things happen to very good people. Any honest read of human history yields this as fact.
The Bible’s King David, Joseph, Paul and of course Jesus all got hammered (and I don’t mean “drunk”) regardless of how much love they gave, gracious giving they did or righteousness they truly lived out.
History is loaded with Anne Franks, Bonhoeffers, Romeros and John the Baptists who got anything but “fair”, or the good they truly did deserve in this life.
But face it: though there’s no failsafe formula to control unsafe others- there IS something we can do about our own attitude and our sense of a life of integrity, even love:
Preoccupation with self is the moth, plague, destroyer and killer that takes us out if we’re not paying close attention. Satan works in concert with this recipe. The ingredients are always at hand. At times we really do eat our own cooking rather than serve others in love.
I am thoroughly convinced the cure is two-fold: God and others.
Many years ago we first heard the acronym JOY and as childish and simple as it is, I find it absolutely solid help with keeping one’s mind, heart and sense of direction in life sure, true and beneficial to both self (in the best nurturing sense) and others-
Jesus first, Others next, Yourself last. Cheesy ‘eh? Corny as can be. And fully true whether you like it or not baby.
Baby Christians can be a year, twenty years or forty years old in their walk with the Lord and still play the “self-is-king/queen” game. You might be 16 or 66 and still live for yourself rather than the true God and others.
Selfishness rather than servanthood brings us right into self-cannibalization.
It is a disease that only repentance and getting our eyes off of SELF can truly cure.
I don’t know any other actual God but God- The Father, Son, Spirit, the divine Trinity of the Book that gives the clear path to the Lamb’s Book of LIFE and other books mentioned (what we do is being written in heaven for future consideration) brings us to consider a life of “gold, silver, precious stones” versus “wood, hay and stubble”.
We act on our thoughts and if our thoughts loop self and not serving God and others, it is no wonder why personal satisfaction and spiritual fulfillment seem a myth.
The truly sick myth is that of self-fulfillment in the first place!
LovING, servING, sharING, givING eventually lands you in a state of “It is more blessed to give than receive”. “Give and it shall be given unto you”. “The greatest commandment is this: love God… the second is just like it… love your neighbor…” and so on.
See, these things that Jesus taught and lived model mental, spiritual and social health, not 9/11 self-and-others-destruction. The problem is serving others means you can’t camp in a mental merry-go-round of “Me!!! What about MEEEEE!?”.
No doubt there is mental health that comes from needed medication. There are those who have done themselves in by drug and alcohol abuse, etc., and such affects one’s thinking in many of the negative ways I mention here. Proper help, meds and time can assist healing for these.
Yet overall, most people I have known throughout my life that are fairly messed up and never seem to be able to keep healthy friends with healthy relationships of love and trust… most are not loving givers and servers, they are self-centered peeps who never surrendered to Jesus Christ. Others come -FAR- after themselves in their thinking, choices and daily practice.
Community is about -them-, not others, not sharing nor serving -which if you think about it is the very antithesis of “community”.
The very relationships of love and trust they so deeply desire are impossible because they are nearly always their actual focus, not Him, not others.
When “you” is your true destination, arriving at “others” isn’t.
New and life-giving service can be offered but nobody can force this -and what would really be accomplished in your life anyway? Love and serving are choices you and I make. Or not. God gives the grace and strength, but we have to each choose whether to cook by His Book or one we write ourselves. We choose His or our own ingredients.
Things to consider in the kitchen of life?
As always, thanks for stopping by! -Glenn