I feel the need to start this by assuring you that no one in our family is having any body parts amputated. I know that you just never know with my crazy life. Just want to clear that up right off.
This is one of those posts that have been on my heart for a few days now and I have no idea if it will make sense to another living soul. Maybe it will.
The other night while I was experiencing one of my up all night times I found myself watching the show House. Do any of you watch that? Well, it was an episode where the dr. found himself at the sight of an airplane crash comforting and caring for a woman who had the misfortune of having her leg trapped under something. (It may have been the plane. I just realized I don't pay attention well.) Anyway, for those of you who watch that show you know that Dr. House had a medical problem that caused him to lose use of one of his legs. So, as he talked with the woman she begged him not to amputate and he promised not to. Because he understood what that would mean. As the show went on it was decided that the woman would have to lose her leg to rescue her. Eventually, House not only had to give her the news, he performed the amputation. Before he did he told her exactly what to expect. She asked how much it would hurt and he honestly told her "more than anything you've ever experienced". Then, he personally took a knife and a saw and took her leg. Graphic? Yes.
Why do I share such graphic images on this blog where I am usually showing peanut covered children or lamps? Because, for some strange reason, this scene hammered a hard truth home for me. You see, we are often taught, in our let's all be happy and hold hands society, that everything is good. I'm good. You're good. It's all good. If we just think happy thoughts all things will be happy. But I'm gonna share something that I hope won't rock your world too much. It's not true. Just not true at all. Sometimes we are bad. We have bad thoughts, we do bad things. Sometimes, situations are bad. Sometimes the relationships we are in are bad. And the hard, awful truth, is that we need an amputation of sorts.
Matthew 18:8 tells us, "If your hand or your foot causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life maimed or crippled than to have two hands or two feet and be thrown into eternal fire." This is one of those verses that some groups get extreme with. No, I am not advocating actually cutting off any of your body parts. This verse is actually teaching us about the danger of sin and that we must take drastic measures to rid it from our lives.
I often hear others share experiences of God moving in powerful ways and I often wonder what they mean. How do we know when God is moving in powerful ways? Do we sing songs and sway to the music? Do we suddenly go around telling other people everything that is wrong with them and that they should now be like us? I don't know. Maybe that is how some people have experienced God. I know that I have had sweet times when God has spoken refreshing, encouraging words to my soul. I hope I've been faithful to share those here. But I also know that the times when I feel God most at work in my life, are the times when He has called our things in my life that need to be amputated. Sometimes, it is a little thing like making me aware that I am discontent with something I need to seek contentment in. And at other times, like when I experienced my depression, it is huge, life threatening surgery. The kind that either leaves you paralyzed as a believer or makes you a candidate for an extreme make-over show.
When it comes to that kind of experience with God I have found that He doesn't leave an ounce of space for pride. I couldn't point my finger and shake it at somebody if my life depended on it. Mostly because God has done some major amputating of my self-righteous, judgemental, know it all little piggies. But what does happen is that it creates an intense desire to see others be whole. Because while an amputation seems extreme, it actually saves the rest of the body from toxic disease that would kill the whole person. So, as one person who has been saved from complete and total death, I long for others to experience that.
House realized that. He realized that his bum leg did nothing but cause him pain and problems. It affected every last part of his body. That is why he became willing to take the women's leg. To save her. The part that got me was when he personally got out the saw. It is one thing for a dr. in a lab coat in a nice office to decide a course of action. It is entirely different to pick up the saw yourself and listen to the screams of an unmedicated woman as you take her leg. I wondered, would I be willing to do that? Not saw off somebody's leg. Are you kidding me? They had to send me out of the room while the sedated my 2 year old. I'm talking about in the spiritual sense here. Am I strong enough to not only see the things in other people's lives that are hurting them, but also to go in and fight the fight with them? Again, I'm not talking about judging, preaching or telling everybody else what is wrong with that person. I'm talking, getting dirty and bloody. Being an accountability person. Speaking the hard truth. Be willing to take in someone who is in a dangerous relationship. Attending AA meetings with a friend. Showing tough love to that same person. Telling people no when it would be easier to say yes. Going in when everybody else has run out of that person's life.
Love, the way God loves, is not easy. It is not hearts and flowers and skipping through fields. It is a choice to be there when no one else is. It's a decision to face the ugliest side of people and be willing to hold on to the beauty you know is there. It is holding people through the night and walking them through the day. It is speaking the truth when it hurts you as bad to say it as it hurts that person to hear it. Sometimes it's ugly and dirty. And sometimes it might not even feel worth it. But God says it is.
1 Have mercy on me, O God,
according to your unfailing love;
according to your great compassion
blot out my transgressions.
2 Wash away all my iniquity
and cleanse me from my sin.
3 For I know my transgressions,
and my sin is always before me.
4 Against you, you only, have I sinned
and done what is evil in your sight,
so that you are proved right when you speak
and justified when you judge.
5 Surely I was sinful at birth,
sinful from the time my mother conceived me.
6 Surely you desire truth in the inner parts [a] ;
you teach [b] me wisdom in the inmost place.
7 Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean;
wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.
8 Let me hear joy and gladness;
let the bones you have crushed rejoice.
9 Hide your face from my sins
and blot out all my iniquity.
10 Create in me a pure heart, O God,
and renew a steadfast spirit within me.
11 Do not cast me from your presence
or take your Holy Spirit from me.
12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation
and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.
13 Then I will teach transgressors your ways,
and sinners will turn back to you.
14 Save me from bloodguilt, O God,
the God who saves me,
and my tongue will sing of your righteousness.
15 O Lord, open my lips,
and my mouth will declare your praise.
16 You do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it;
you do not take pleasure in burnt offerings.
17 The sacrifices of God are [c] a broken spirit;
a broken and contrite heart,
O God, you will not despise.
18 In your good pleasure make Zion prosper;
build up the walls of Jerusalem.
19 Then there will be righteous sacrifices,
whole burnt offerings to delight you;
then bulls will be offered on your altar.