Ice Cream We’re Not
I’m sitting in a meeting. Everyone assumes I’m taking notes but I’m not. I’m writing this instead!
Sometimes I’m supposed to be doing one thing but I’m doing another. Sometimes I’m supposed to be sleeping and I’m lying awake worrying about missionaries’ support accounts. Sometimes I’m supposed to be taking a Sabbath and I take a look at my emails. Sometimes I’m supposed to be working and I find myself watching a soccer match. But I’m always supposed to be me, and I always am. I suppose you’re always you, too.
That’s a good thing, because we like what God is doing in us. Right? I’ve always been attracted to Jesus’ description of Nathanael, “in whom there is no guile.” This life in the Spirit doesn’t include a “guile” option. That’s the kind of people we are. This is the beauty of holiness as Perfect Love, a love that doesn’t have a fractured face. That’s what God has done and continues to do in us.
This doesn’t suggest we might not be distracted, or multi-task, or drift into a reverie in front of the television. It just means we’re one whole thing. We’re not splintered into warring components. The Spirit is healing our broken-heartedness. Broken-heartedness is the splintering of the heart.
The reason I mention this is that only one kind of speech should come out of me. I shouldn’t have one tone for you, another tone for pastors, and yet another tone for the Board of Administration. James says that fresh water and bitter water can’t come out of the same spring. A spring is one or the other. A spring doesn’t do the Dairy Queen vanilla/chocolate swirl of sweet words and bitter words. James says the same tongue can’t praise God and curse people. Only a splintered heart could do that. Our hearts can’t do that. We are only fresh sweet water. We’re incapable of chewing someone out. Because that isn’t fresh water, that’s bitter water, and there’s none of that inside of us. We’re the same with our wife, as we are with the church, as we are with the Missions Resource Team, as we are with bad drivers, as we are with tech-support people in call centers who just keep misunderstanding us.
Here’s my growth edge: to not get exasperated with telephone recordings that tell me how important my call is. For some time I’ve thought it funny to speak cynically to the recorded voice; to make wisecracks that no one can hear. The problem is, it’s bitter water. And there shouldn’t be bitter water in my well. It doesn’t matter that no one can hear me, it’s bitter water. So I’m not going to do that any more.
We are a people without guile. Without Swirls.