Truth rains its words
On whitewashed tombs,
While nonetheless aware,
The other cheek turns away
In silent crimsoned shame.
“Then He said to them all, ‘If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will save it. For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and is himself destroyed or lost?’” (Luke 9:23, 24, NKJV).
Every time I got caught doing something wrong, and I got caught more than I got away, I heard mother’s words recited between my ears before I ever confronted her actual lips delivering the admonition — “You should have known better!” Too often I deepened the hole by speaking.
l learned to think my response.
Because I thought I could win, the game offered its challenge and fun.
How often did my want override my better judgment? As long as it remained — and it remained a long time. Blinded by it, I considered myself an otherwise reasonable person. But reason excuses the blind.
Want had the effect of conforming me to its object. It also had the effect of allowing me to avoid and delay responsibility, to run away from the hard questions.
When life demanded the right response I ran toward any excuse, any belief, any philosophy serving my purpose. I became infected not just with mankind’s thoughts and beliefs but also my own reasoning. When the moral question called, turning the other cheek became my standard excuse As years would inform me it was the wrong response.
I didn’t have to do anything wrong. I wasn’t a bad person. I just didn’t choose to stand up. Simple is the way to hell.
Hearing my silent acquiescence, I attempted to ignore with a stoic indifference truth’s clamor for my attention. But want tires and its end eventually empties into nothingness. When I peered into this darkness, unknown to me then, my soul began conforming to God and I no longer wished to bend reality to my will. Isn’t this what Jesus meant when He said, “let him deny himself …but whoever loses his life for My sake will save it?” Didn’t I have to run out of wants?
Now what? No longer did a half-rung effort suffice. Hearsay wasn’t enough to fill the void. Reading, studying, praying and listening to God became a daily discipline. Time with Him informed my response.
Distanced by my want, the moral question calls and I hear the faint recitations deep within, “You should have known.” Seasoned by my failings, I am doing my best to stand up. My “should” now rises before my want. Moral courage demands I not turn the cheek. I remain challenged.
Truth rains its words, and I listen, all the while aware.
“Those who have ears to hear, let them hear” (Matthew 11:15, NKJV).