I have been thinking more about the stories we tell. What it is that I share about myself or other people? Even more than that, what story am I choosing to live? What is it that drive people to behave and act out the story that they chose to live? With every action, and every conversation there is more lurking in the background. It is the operating system in my heart and mind that drive my outward behaviors. This morning I was reading about the speculations that some psychologists have about why a seemingly mild mannered young man violently ambushed and killed a police officer who was peacefully walking her beat in a neighboring city. What was lurking in that young man’s heart and mind to plan out and execute such an act?
The good apostle Paul makes the argument that we are all like the violent murderer even if we have never acted on it. Our deep self-centered heart-he argues- reveals the truth of our judgmental, critical and tainted nature. It’s not a pretty story.
We can no longer deny that the world is a scary place. I would say that the scariest place is what lurks in my own self-centered heart. While I have never physically murdered anyone, I have thought murderous thoughts toward others- and myself for that matter. In his letter to the Romans, the apostle Paul makes the case that we all have fallen away and have gone astray. He goes on to say that every one of us…every man, woman and cute little child are deserving of nothing less than the punishment of death because of our inherent sin nature. Even the most benevolent woman, even the most upright man has more than a thread of self-centered sin that keeps her or him separated from God’s perfect goodness. We try to redeem our own stories, but we are unable. No amount of education, no number of good deeds, no plethora of self-help strategies, not even religion will do it. Only God can redeem us by what He has already accomplished.
The real and true Story of Jesus is the only hope we have. He came as a human; he lived a sinless life; he suffered and died on a criminal’s cross and rose to Life to conquer death once for all. It is the mystery of the Christian faith that this has solved the problem of our need for redemption. It is the most hopeful story ever.
I have mentioned this before, and it is worth repeating: there is not a one of us who has a story that God does not know the whole of, nor is NOT in need of redemption. (double negative not withstanding). I am grateful that even though God knows my whole story in intricate detail, He still loves me and calls me to be His friend. No matter what my story has been or where my story is going He is always ready to be watching over me and be a part of my story. He is always ready to redeem my past story and is ready to invest in my future story so that it can be my best story ever. He offers this same gift to every man, woman, and child. He offers this gift to you. Every human person can access this gracious gift.
What’s going on behind your story? Will you respond to God’s invitation to let your story be inside of His Story? 15 No longer do I call you servants; for the servant knows not what his lord does: but I have called you friends; for all things that I heard from my Father, I have made known unto you. John 15:15 (ASV)