Hangups,Errors a And Blunders. The Mistakes We Are Trained To Make.

Nobody is born being an expert. We might all have different aptitudes for various skills but it’s practice that makes perfect. Even if we achieve the skill level of “expert” that doesn’t mean that we are free from simple human error. Suddenly being faced with the undeniable truth that you’ve made a royal screwup is God’s way of keeping us humble. In other words, oopsies are the great leveling force of the universe. Remember, it was experts that built the Titanic and amateurs that built the Ark.

When I saw the collection of lost fishing tackle snagged in the overhead power lines my first thought was that someone’s kids had been on their first fishing trip. This inspired the meme below.

But after some thought I began to consider the phenomenon of “muscle memory”. If you are trained to cast a line with a high arc you might not think to adjust your cast while standing under the power lines. Your reflexes would kick in and your body would react out of pure instinct. You would do the right thing but at the wrong time. This kind of mistake happens to all of us and it happens more often than we care to admit. It also happens during the thought process and when reacting to something that someone else has said or done. I think that’s why it’s important to be quick to forgive. Jesus said to let he who is without sin cast the first stone. While there’s different interpretations of what was being implied in this statement I believe that at least in part Jesus was pointing out that errors in actions often include errors in judgment and nobody is immune from this. The experts in the law were reacting out of reflex without examining the circumstances. It’s the same kind of mistake we all make every day.

Contrasts In Harmony

This one is the reflection of a cloud on Summersville Lake. I snapped the photo on a whim and it’s one of the first photos I ever took with a quality camera. What I like the most about this particular image is contrast in harmony. The cloud is a symbolic representation of the element of air floating on water. In order to get the image I had to point my lens away from the sky. The photo shows two forms of water in the same place at the same time. The cool blue-green color of the lake belies the near tropical weather we had the day I took the photo.

Nature loves balance. We tend to think of world in terms positive and negative depending on how something impacts our lives. Sometimes I like to think of these situations more in terms of ebb and flow. A balanced life will experience both sides of the equation. The old adage is that “in every life a little rain must fall.” I assure you that Summerville Lake is drained every year and that without a lot of rain there would be no peaceful days floating on that beautiful blue-green water. This is the simple concept that pulls me though the tough times. There will be a wonderful calm after the storm. Balance will eventually bring the nice things back around in my direction.

Lies Live In Darkness

About the image. Photo taken with my Samsung Galaxy 6 active. Image of the sun burning through a storm as it passes. The picture was taken on a whim.

What lives in darkness?

Something thrives on ignorance.

Something that feeds on fear.

Something that is selfish.

Something that threatens mutual destruction.

Something that has secrets.

Something that is weak.

Something that has no real power.

Lies live in darkness and starve in the light.

– Lloyd A Dempsey II

Lies. That’s been the topic of several blogs I follow.

A lie is like a cancer to the soul. The longer it’s allowed to exist the more it consumes. Paul Gerhardt was the one who first said that “when a man lies he murders some part of the world.” ( thank you Google) I would add that the liar is his own primary victim. A person may believe that they’ve sent the lie out from themselves and used it on someone else but the truth is that the lie never truly leaves the heart of the liar and a darkness is born. From that moment on the lie takes over the liar. A person does tell a lie, he hosts it like one might host a parasite. The lie will speak to liar from within and the threat is that “I’ll take you down with me.” But, there is a way to freedom. Simply letting in the light. Confessing to the lie and speaking the truth robs the lie of power and shrinks the cancer of the soul.

John 8:32

“And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”

On Justice and Vengeance

Above is the Nicholas County Courthouse. While taking the picture I began to think of it as a place of justice. But what is justice?

We’ve all been there. Somebody does you wrong and you cry out for justice. The world seems out of balance you just won’t rest until things are set right again. But, is it really justice that we’re seeking? Or, is it vengeance? Common sense would seem to imply that the two words describe the same thing but do they really? As I contemplate the terms and try to sort out the answer I have come to find more questions.

Can justice truly exist without mercy and grace? ( which incidentally are not the same thing either). Mercy is when we are found guilty of some infraction and yet, we are spared the consequences of guilt. Mercy also has a tendency to come with conditions. When a police officer lets you off with a warning instead of a full blown citation as long as you’re not caught speeding on his street again. He knows that you’re guilty. He can prove it. But, he doesn’t pursue the charge. Maybe it’s your first offense or he just likes you or he he’s sympathetic to your circumstances. Whatever the reason, he granted you mercy.

Then what is grace? From the time I was a child I was taught that grace is the unmerited favor of God. We don’t deserve it, but he gives it anyway because he wants to. Now, let’s take our same police officer and same situation. Only now, he gives you money for lunch in place of the ticket. Our good officer has just demonstrated both mercy and grace.

So with the above example in mind let’s re-examine the difference between justice and vengeance.

Does vengeance allow for mercy and grace? Not really. We might claim to have shown mercy or grace or both but if we’re honest with ourselves we must admit that isn’t really so. We have either grown weary of vengeance or we felt that the other party has suffered enough. In either case, we didn’t allow the escape of a certain amount of punishment.

Justice however does allow for mercy and grace. Punishment is avoided under the right conditions.

One other thing about vengeance. Is it possible for an innocent person to suffer undue vengeance? I’m sure each of can find at least one example from our own past of a person being paid back for something that they didn’t do. However, if justice is true, then true guilt is established prior to pay backs.

It would seem that under a close scrutiny that there could be holes in what we call common sense if we can’t separate justice from vengeance.

Common sense may be easy to understand but in reality it isn’t always accurate and it isn’t always neutral.