There may have been a time in a person’s willful life, a time before he believed, when the whole of the Christian story seemed improbable. There may have been an inkling it was true but thought allowed it not because only the eyes filled belief. Each day focused on the matters demanding attention, each spent on judging others as different or worse or as gain or detriment. Nothing in his nature suggested wrong rested within unless gain could be achieved by admitting it. Each effort satisfying his want was good and noble, his persona perfect in pursuit of ambition.
In his first believing, in the joy accompanying the grace allowing him the story’s truth, he was presented with a problem. At first, he was unaware. Only in time when he began to regress toward his habitual nature, when that nature confronted him, did another truth arise. When mercy and forgiveness toward others began to enter thought and heart, did this truth swing the pendulum. Now, as he saw the good in others, even believed the worst of men were subject to God’s grace, did God turn his attention toward his own failings. Before, he understood truth only when it applied outside of him. But when truth’s light turned onto him, it became painful. But it was a holy pain he experienced. It was God’s light calling him to seek Him first in all things, to see as He sees, to love as He loves, to walk through regret and atonement, repentance and redemption. The willful self suffers his darkness before he suffers his light. But it is an assuring light from above he suffers gladly.
My own journey to understanding God’s light has not been so easy. I am a willful creature. I wish to prove my worth. If Blythe Daniel is right, that “extending yourself to others requires thinking about what the other needs, not what you’re comfortable giving,” I resisted God’s every urging to do so. For it is in relationship where the willed self fails to see the need in others, where darkness finds its soil.
Recently, I found myself in conflict with someone. I admit I failed to see his worth. I found him to be a disruptive individual who wished to create conflict. After praying, I one day realized his need. My attitude toward him changed. Mercy filled my perspective. I became confident in my wrong.
Often, without God, we fail in relationships. When relationship with God becomes as intended through creation, the creaturely in response to the Creator, those ties we have with others along our walk become ordained by truth. Yes, we might have to walk yet again through regret and atonement, through repentance and redemption, but in doing so, we admit to God the truth of our own nature and our dependence on Him. In His abundance, we are created again.
To God, we can prove nothing. In light, He proves His love.
“For those who have ears to hear, let them hear” (Matthew 11:15, NKJV).