Saturday, February 16, 2013


One of the things I have discovered over the years is that a lot of folks just don't like the Apostle Paul.  Some consider him thick-headed; others think his writings are dense. Some accuse him of misrepresenting himself; some believe he is too narcissistic. Some are uncomfortable with his theology; others think he is just plain dangerous.

But I don't think we can deny (or at least, I can't) that he was a pretty good judge of human nature.  Take, for instance, his take on humanity in the 7th chapter of Romans. I don't get it, he says. I know exactly the sort of life I should lead, but I don't. And those things that I know deep down in my heart lead me away from God, and damage my relationship with others, those are exactly the things that are so easy to do.

We know that there are those occasions when someone is looking for a word of hope, but we are too busy offering them a feast of despair to notice. We know those people in our lives who, more than anything, need affirmation and encouragement, and we are all too ready to join in the chorus of condemnation. We sense that the person facing us longs for human touch, for a simple hug, but we need to maintain proper boundaries, we need to make sure we do not act inappropriately.

It is just all too easy for us to do those things we shouldn't, and too difficult to discipline ourselves to act as God's people, full of compassion, brimming with justice, bearers of hope, gifters of love.

It is like the sign in the front of a church I saw the other day:
Don't lead me into temptation,
I can find the way all by myself

© 2013 Thom M. Shuman

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