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AslansTraveller

Work On Myself

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5. Do you believe that you behave as a follower of Jesus most of the time; some of the time; or now and then?

 

Not nearly enough. And from the statistics around it would seem I'm not alone. We are all of us wounded, sinful, fallen, crippled, you choose the metaphor. Which has given me a clear and unambiguous mandate:

 

I should be spending my time working on my own behavior and not on the behavior of others!

 

I am in no place to criticize anyone for their sex lives, their social habits, who they sleep with, the books they read, etc. Because I am in no wise in a better place than anyone. I am struggling, I am doing the best I can and look at the mess I am. How do I dare judge anyone else?

 

The ancient Desert Fathers, with all their failings had this right. The ideal was to be harder on ones self than on others. A story is as follows:

 

Abba Moses was invited to a meeting of all the hermits. A brother was found to have been sinning seriously and they were going to sit in judgement on him as a community. When Abba Moses showed up he was carrying a huge sack. He came in, sat down and opened the sack, which turned out to be full of pebbles. He began to count the pebbles "1,2,3 . . . ". Out of respect the other brothers waited a while, then one of them approached him:

"Excuse me, Abba, but we have to begin the trial of this brother."

"Oh not yet," said Abba Moses, "how can I judge his sins until I'm finished counting my own? 3003,3004,3005 . . ."

After a while, Abba Moses looked up and found all the other brothers had left and there was no more talk of judging the brother.

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Not nearly enough. And from the statistics around it would seem I'm not alone. We are all of us wounded, sinful, fallen, crippled, you choose the metaphor. Which has given me a clear and unambiguous mandate:

 

I should be spending my time working on my own behavior and not on the behavior of others!

 

I am in no place to criticize anyone for their sex lives, their social habits, who they sleep with, the books they read, etc. Because I am in no wise in a better place than anyone. I am struggling, I am doing the best I can and look at the mess I am. How do I dare judge anyone else?

 

I agree with you. Great story too.

 

For me, the question (5.) hit me in terms of it being about my 'self perception'. I read it as asking if "I believed" that I behave as a follower of Jesus Christ most/some of the time. So my most immediate answer is YES, regardless of my behaviour. I might seem like I'm splitting hairs, but it raises the idea of whether there are certain visible signs and behaviours that can be identified (or labelled) and determined as 'christian' behaviours by an external person/system/organisation. I struggle with that because it is possible for me to 'go through the motions' and DO all the right things/actions (as determined by the particular people I am with - eg praying, fasting, tithing, whatever.)

I am a follower of Jesus Christ, and I grapple with what that means and who Jesus/God is, but the connection to something bigger/greater/divine is still there. Even in my most revolting moments I am still a follower, so my belief is not dependant on my behaviour. (thank God).

Edited by Flatliner

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I would agree with you pretty much. We are all fallen and fallible and none of us is doing what we should. The question thus is: are we like the Pharisee "Thank you God for not making me like other men . . ." or the publican "Lord, forgive me a sinner."

 

I would look less for the performance of a set of rules than an attitude of desiring God, His love and presence while being fully aware of it all being gift, not earned.

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