Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Good Monsters

I just came across with this interview of Christianity Today with Dan Haseltine of my favorite band Jars of Clay.

“The gospel never calls us to live our lives privately, but the idea of individualism and isolation has worked itself into our idea of what a good Christian life looks like—that it's full of quiet times where it's just us and God. But for me, when I get into that scenario, the only voice I'm really hearing is my own. And when I'm trying to wrestle with some truth of the gospel or some new element God is trying to teach me, it's just me using my own knowledge base rather than living that out in community with other people. So it never really works. The kind of maturity that I hope for, the kinds of things I want to have freedom from, they never come, because it's just me working it out by myself.”. – Dan Haseltine

Indeed, there are plenty of contradictions within, and monsters to battle against. We put up a nice façade and wear a smiling face, yet there’s half-honesty to all of these. We tried to appear “good” in the company of the good and of the Pharisees, while also acting maniacally when inside those dark places with pretty women. Some seemingly good people also do bad deeds. I know how Dan feels about keeping up with a seemingly clean image, then exposing himself one day.

So, who’s guilty of hypocrisy? Am I talking about myself?

These contradictions are not bad per se. I am not perfect anyway. These are part of the daily struggles, and of one’s character build-up. What have I done when inside those dark places with pretty women? Hmm…..God saw it all, and I can say that the “fear of the Lord” prevails. But what am I doing there in the first place?

I grew up in a Christian family, and made that important decision to make Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior when I was still a child. But as I progressed, I cannot avoid being exposed to many of the “good and bad” things. I encountered many people whose perspectives are different from mine. I can talk their language and some even thought I’m one of them. But I cannot follow their deeds. Someone inside of me tells me to behave and be a light to those around me.

Even in some internet chat rooms, I am tempted to explore what others experienced - playing games with willing victims. But nah, I can do better things than that.

Sometimes, I questioned about free will, and about open-mindedness and the relativity of everything. It’s easier to do things without certain rules and standards. Some may even say that I am just bound by my upbringing or tied to my beliefs. So what’s wrong with being on God’s side?

Again, I am not perfect. Just like a jar of clay molded by the potter, I am a work in process. So what do I do in battling the monsters within? Keeping God’s words in my heart, that way I kept my heart pure. And at certain times of failure, I asked for God’s forgiveness.

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