In HOPE

  In HOPE 6.21                                  back to home                        David Timms

Ministry Resources

The quote this week - opposite - comes from Macrina Wiederkehr's A Tree Full of Angels: Seeing the Holy in the Ordinary (Harper, 1998: 160pp). Her book is filled with gentle, uplifting insights into the Christian life. 

An additional resource that some of you might find helpful is "Catalyst Monthly" - a free email once a month that includes interviews with people like Rob Bell, Erwin McManus, Eugene Peterson, and Andy Stanley. If you're in Christian leadership, some of these articles and interviews might prove helpful to you. You can get a free subscription by going to Free Newsletters at www.injoy.com

 

Hope International University
Fullerton, CA 92831

 

"All too often in our early formation, our goodness and potential were downplayed; our sin and weakness were stressed in excess. The result is a world full of people who move through life without a felt sense of their basic goodness."  (Macrina Wiederkehr)

_____________________________

You Good Thing

We've all heard the miraculous stories of coaches who saw potential in someone 'ordinary' and persisted with them until they achieved glory. The old fairy tales had similar plots, at times, such as Cinderella's potential to be more than a kitchen-hand and the Ugly Duckling's potential to become a stunning swan.

We all tend to see potential in the people around us, but not usually their good potential. More often, we see their potential to deceive us, to hurt us, to lie to us, or to take advantage of us. We live with barrow-loads of suspicion and truckloads of caution. And the news stories we hear every day remind us to trust noone.

We distrust our neighbors, doubt our children, and grow dissatisfied with our spouse. It's all negative.

Similarly, many of us have grown up with so much personal criticism and censure that all we can see is our own potential to fail or to disappoint. An enormous amount of pain in our lives derives from the negative assessments we believe about ourselves. "We're incompetent, unreliable, weak, and worthless." Sometimes those messages have emanated even from pulpits.

Some people suggest that the gospel (the good news) is that Christ is able to take all the trash and turn it to treasure. He's able to convert our depravity into glory, and our sinfulness into saintliness. No doubt He can. But such an approach to our humanity is inherently negative.

While some believers favor an analogy whereby Christ turns our coal into diamonds, an equally valid analogy might be the gold mine, whereby Christ reveals and refines the good that has laid increasingly buried in our lives.

Much good lies within us all, all the time.

The journey towards godliness takes time, not just because our sinful nature remains defiantly prominent but also because our godly nature ("in His image") remains persistently buried. It helps very little to beat ourselves over sin, if we fail to also affirm Christ in us, the hope of glory.

His image was stamped on us at birth, not rebirth. The rebirth provides impetus to call ourselves by the names the Father has always used of us - sons and daughters, beloved ones, saints. We feel uncomfortable - perhaps even ashamed - to embrace such titles when our view of humanity remains stuck in our shortcomings.

As we lead others, and seek to grow ourselves, we might find enormous help and health as we seek to uncover (with real anticipation and hope) the basic goodness within ourselves and all those around us. Christ looked beyond the immoral lifestyle of a Samaritan woman, beyond the racketeering of Zaccheus, beyond the leprous skin of the outcast, and kindled something of God within each one.

What gifts, good things, and gold do you see (and draw out) in others?

In HOPE -

David

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David Timms serves in the Graduate Ministry Department at Hope International University in Fullerton, California. "In HOPE", however, is not an official publication of the University and the views expressed are not necessarily those of the Administrators or Board of the institution. "In HOPE" has been a regular e-publication since January, 2001.

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