Good Morning Brothers and Sisters…
I was watching a TV show the other night and the narrator said that all people believe they have dodged a bullet at some time in their life. That got the old ping pong balls bouncing around in my head. For contextual purposes, lets first establish the ‘dodging bullets’ comment as a metaphor, and not actually dodging bullets downrange from a shooter somewhere. As the ping pong balls bounced, I could recall plenty of times in my life when I felt like I dodged a bullet. All of my stories revolve around the same feeling. A feeling that I didn’t pay the consequence for my action. A feeling like the intended result, justifiable by the natural laws of life, missed me somehow. Some call this luck, guarding angels, God protecting the ignorant, or the kind hand of fate. Whatever we decide to call it, it points out a belief that we all share…our actions have justifiable consequences.
My Coach used to tell me (in college) that if I danced all night I would have to pay the piper in the morning. Even though I wasn’t exactly sure what a ‘piper’ was, I knew what he meant. I have told my kids over and over that the choices you make now will affect you later. Good or bad, doesn’t matter, there is always ramifications to our choices. Part of decision making is understanding the ramification to the choices we have in front of us. I am sure, at this point, that most of you reading this are thinking about the times in your life when you should have been injured, but escaped harm; when you should have gotten into trouble, but escaped discipline; when you should have received jail time, but escaped confinement; when you should have died, but escaped the reaper.
This inherent belief that all of mankind shares is the result of being created in God’s image. We are a mixture of flesh and bone, emotions and personality, and a spiritual awareness of a ‘choice’. All of mankind is created in the image of God which means we all share this innate sense of ‘other’. We all recognize that there is something ‘other’ than man that will come to have an impact on our life. For some, we understand that ‘other’ is God. For the rest, they avoid the term ‘God’ and will use terms like ‘fate’, or ‘karma’, or ‘just the way the world works’. All of these terms acknowledge the right of ‘other’ to judge us according to our actions and choices. When we ‘dodge a bullet’ we are accepting the right of ‘other’ to send that bullet our way.
Now that is interesting…
This means that there is a whole host of humanity that would rather ‘dodge bullets’ or ‘take bullets’ from a faceless, passionless, graceless ‘other’…than from a God who is described as ‘love’. Fascinating…from a psychological standpoint. Sad…from a humanity standpoint. Maddening…from an evangelical standpoint. To live in God’s grace is to live in the present knowledge of a ‘dodged bullet’ of a future judgement. Let me break that down for a minute. All Christians know that the wages of sin is death. This means that the ramifications of sin is eternal death. A Christian, by his choice to follow Jesus, escapes death and is ushered into the promise of eternal life. This knowledge should be lived out joyfully in the present, knowing that the ‘bullet of all bullets’ has been dodged. A life lived joyfully in the present, is a life filled with love, with peace, with patience, with goodness, with self-control; which are all ‘fruits of the Spirit’; which bear a resemblance all the way back to ‘created in the image of God.’ Christians especially, should have lives filled with these fruits because we know the ‘other’ isn’t some faceless graceless fate, but God Almighty! This is why the whole situation is maddening from an evangelical standpoint. God created us with an innate sense of ‘other’, all we (Christians) need to do is to live out our lives joyfully in all circumstances because of our understanding of ‘what’s next’.
‘What’s next’ is life with God. A God who loves, who cares, who provides, who comforts, who blesses, who wants for us the best in life; and the best in life is Him!
Think about that for a minute, “The best in life is Him!”
And that…is truth with a bullet.