In Romans Paul asks the famous do-do questions…..the same questions many folks still ask in these times. I will paraphrase them; why do I do what I don’t want to do?, and why don’t I do what I should do? The key word in those questions is, of course, why. Those two questions, I’m convinced, go unanswered much of the time because to answer the why means digging in. Digging into ones self. When we dig into ourselves, it typically gets uncomfortable doesn’t it? Particularly when we sense that in doing so we will be going places quite beyond the limits of our comfort zones, uncomfortable places where things might get a little dicey. Or scary. Or maybe even painful. And it requires risk, something which seems to be at a very high premium for many people.
The picture highlighting this post speaks volumes doesn’t it? Many of us, far too many in fact, carry those unresolved questions well into adulthood, and in many cases late adulthood. That’s sad, because to do so means that person has carried, deep inside, a bunch of unresolved inner conflict for a long time. Thus, it’s beyond sad actually. To them it is also painful–except many of them just don’t realize where that inner pain is coming from, or just don’t care to do anything about it. They won’t take the risks needed to free themselves of the bondage of self, and the inner pain, questions, conflict, tension never goes away. Often throughout their lives they will try to deaden those results through addictions, self abusive behaviors or even abusive behaviors, or they will simply live out their lives with their heads in the sand hoping that it will soon go away. It doesn’t and it won’t.
This past weekend myself and some other men held a retreat for men, Die to Self, in which those men attending (hey, and the staff as well) were able to discover themselves–the ones hidden behind all of the bluster of today’s masculinity, and come away knowing that the question mark can be erased if only they embark on the journey in the first place in order to become real men, men of God and men of integrity. Through huge risks, lots of tears and hand wringing, and lots of love without judgement, those men saw the sparks of change that can take place. They found that their crap doesn’t own them, and that their pasts don’t define them. They found that they have worth, that they are a child of God, and that they matter. They found a route for escape from themselves so that they can be the new creation in Christ that God promised they can be, and at the end of the weekend they had found some relief and the answers to the questions, why.
Once again I, and everyone there, saw first hand how God works through people and in people and with people. He doesn’t give us our answers on a silver platter saying “here ya go pal.” He gives us the opportunity of making the choice to choose discovery, even though it means working through some discomfort to get to the answers of life issues.
Do life better friends. Work on erasing the question marks on your hands. They aren’t in indelible ink.