Friday, August 24, 2007

how are WE doing?

This is the question. Not: How am I doing? Nor: How are they doing? Or: How is she or he doing? But in a real sense we should look at life as: How are we doing?

Too often we can be self-absorbed, I speak first-hand, thinking as if we are the center. Or we can be concerned about the person or persons we don't like. But God has something better for us in Christ.

I think we need to learn to see ourselves and our brother and sister in Christ as one in the Lord. And we need to see ourselves and any other human being as one in God. Therefore it's never about me, but it's about us before God, in God's world and with reference to the ongoing work of God in Jesus.

I struggle at times over people and the same was happening today (yesterday, when this post goes out). But then it dawned on me as I was seeking to humble myself and dwell in the grace and love of God in Christ in all of this in all my brokeness and imperfection, that I need to see any problem as an "us" problem. Not as a "they" problem, or a "me" problem I want to escape. Now I want to go from here and see what God does.

What thoughts do you have on this?

17 comments:

L.L. Barkat said...

I guess that depends on the arena, the context, the issue.

But we are doing well on this blog with that story about Tiffany below. The glance into your life was tender.

Ted M. Gossard said...

L.L., Thanks. I guess I posted this last evening when I typed it. Nice to have a comment on here as soon as it is published (as far as I knew) and good to hear from you on this.

You're right. It may not be going all that well, as to the question. I'm thinking, of course, it's just the way we should be looking at life with all that is in life.

NaNcY said...

yes, i am not the center, or anywhere near the center. and yes, i am not alone in the body of Christ. and yes, Christians are not the only people that God loves. and yes, not only see any problem as an us problem, also to see the problem as possibly being us not humbling ourselves before God to give Him our love, which is the first of the two most important commandments. and if we do not do the first most important commandment, we will not be able to do the second, which is to love one another. if we do the first then we do the second also.

Ted M. Gossard said...

Nancy, You're so right. All too often I'll see others as the problem, but fail to realize that I can be part of the problem as well, or at least have a problem in it. Also that instead of thinking simply in terms of whether I'm okay, I need to think in terms whether we together are okay before God in his grace.

Charity Singleton said...

To ask the question about "we" and "us" requires me to share the burdens others are carrying, or to rejoice in the successes of others. Sometimes, I have to rejoice with others and admit that "we" are doing great, when I am actually struggling. And vice versa. It's a real discipline to experience community this way. I see you engaging with others in this symbiotic way, though, Ted.

Ted M. Gossard said...

Charity, Great to hear from you. And helpful words here. And thanks for the encouragement. The very engagement you refer to comes out of struggle. But yes, it's not merely about "me", nor is it about my experience, but more than that, inclusive of all others before God.

I like your thoughts about sharing the burdens and successes as in rejoicing, of others. I love it: how unlike most if not all Timothy genuinely cared about others and truly sought the interest of Christ. And I think that's in the same chapter or not far from how we're to think in community as Christ thought (Php 2; I like TNIV rendering of this).

NaNcY said...

icnosfvgno one above another, and God above all. all belonging to God, though not all seeking or serving God...

NaNcY said...

sorry, icnosfvgno is not a word, that i know of anyway. some how the word verification letters ended up there. oops!

NaNcY said...

and the "no" part was the first word of the sentence. yikes!

Ted M. Gossard said...

Nancy, If I get the gist of what you're saying, part of what you're saying, I think, like Jesus, we need to identify ourselves with the entire human race, with everyone. This certainly means plenty of people who are not doing the will of God in Jesus, along with those of us who are struggling to so do.

In Jesus we need to look at the world and grieve for it and so identify ourselves with it, in spite of all the evil found there (knowing we too have some evil in our own lives, though not excusing that of course).

NaNcY said...

i am starting to know i am not a part on anything anymore except through Jesus. i am to identify with all through Jesus. and identify my self through Jesus. this because i do not belong to my self or to the world. i belong to God. i am no better than anyone else. i just believe that everything belongs to God and that includes me. and because i believe in the Son of God and know that i am a sinner and in need of Jesus and the saving Grace of God, and i have the Holy Spirit within me. now, when i stand before God, it well be God that decides where i spend eternity. the same as everyone else. i grieve about the lack of Love for God and and so the loss of love for one another. i yearn in my heart for real community between all people, that which can not be had on earth. i dispair of the pain and loss because of sin. However, i find my hope in and through Jesus. i find love in God almighty because he lives in me right here and now, and will stay with me, always, because i know, that i belong to Him. and i know that i would be lost, in a place that is worse that my mind can even imagine, without him. the journey of life here, the giving up of my sinful self of death and lies, the remaking of my mind and heart by the Holy Spirit. i am so blessed by God.

Ted M. Gossard said...

Nancy, Thanks for all your thoughts there and sharing them with us. It is a blessing to read and see what God is helping you to see, live and share with us.

KM said...

All well and good in theory Ted! What happens after you've identified with the "other" and endeavored to love -- and been rejected; when you've prayed and seen no fruit? Healing can't be forced. And the day will come when every problem will be rectified and every broken thing restored, and often we do get a preview, but the true fullness of it really isn't yet. Two points then: (a) it doesn't become all hunkdory just because we try to connect with others and love them to death, and (b) others still have to choose their own path. Can advise them and encourage them, but their use of their free will is still up to them.

Ted M. Gossard said...

Hi, KM, Good to hear from you.

You're so right. Even when posting this there are issues unresolved. I was dealing with my own attitude and outlook. So that we could say that down the road if there still is not a resolution to a problem, we then would have to say that WE aren't doing that well, though I in the Lord, am seeking to do my part, and be open to God's will, leading and working in all of this.

KM said...

Yes, Ted. I understand you... as in I can't be rich if my brother is poor, even if I've invested well, and I can't be poor if my brother is rich because we're all connected; despite the richness or poorness of my-self, I'm still affected by the richness or poorness of you.

Am I on target?

Ted M. Gossard said...

KM, I think you are. Though I don't necessarily think that we all have to live precisely the same lifestyles, and we're certainly not going to all make the same money. Though what you say ought to be much more the practice, that we won't let anyone fall through the cracks financially or health wise, and that there wouldn't be an inordinate difference in lifestyle, say someone living in a $350,000+ house while others in the fellowship are languishing in a trailer barely able to stay there, though they're trying to do their part.

I really wasn't at all thinking in terms of the economic, so glad you brought that up here, KM. Certainly applies as an important part of this.

And it strikes against the individualistic ideal we hold from modernism and is a part of America, as people pursue "the American dream".

KM said...

I just saw your response Ted. I wasn't actually thinking of the economic either -- I was just using "rich" and "poor" in the expanded sense that Miroslav Volf does when he talks about "rich self" vs "poor self" and "having" vs "being." (I picked out a couple of paragraphs on that in this post.) It goes beyond the material to the relational, and here, taking others' burdens as our own, is where it ends up.