Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Good Monsters

"Not all monsters are bad, but the ones who are good
never do what they could, never do what they could

All the good monsters rattle their chains,
And dance around the open flames,
and they make a lot of empty noise.

While all of the bright eyes turn away,
As if there wasn't anything to say,
About the justice and the mystery.
Do you know what you are?
Do you know what you are?

And we are bored of all the things we know
And we are forms of everything we love, we love.

If good won't show it's ugly face, evil won't you take your place
nothing ever changes, nothing ever changes... by itself."

Jars of Clay, Good Monsters, 2006

"The song Good Monsters sort of is a different way of saying a famous Edmond Burke quote, “The only necessary thing for evil to succeed is for good men to do nothing.” Dan Haseltine

Saturday morning my dream revealed that I think of myself as a "good monster". Sometimes. Maybe a lot of times I'm just a monster, and sometimes I'm a bad monster. The human condition is paradoxical. We are made in the image and likeness of God. We are veritable eikons of Him.

We are born in sin. Some think that means we got dealt the bad hand--thanks papa Adam--and we start off our existence that way. Others believe we crash into this fallen world of sin and collect our evil like lint on a cheap sweater.

Do you know what you are?

This has been a grueling week. I've chewed on the root of bitterness off and on. When you first taste it it's horrible, and then it turns sweet. And then it gives you a heady high. Turns bitter again. Makes you sick. And if you partake for long, it will kill you. And let me tell you, it's got quite the nasty after-taste.

Paul said, "Be angry, but sin not." I think I need the manual on how to do that. I'd feel better, and then the root would call me again for another taste. And I'd partake, chewing and chewing until I felt so bloated with rage that I waddled drunken out of Love.

And then I considered Jesus. All Good. Not a whit of monster in Him. He got angry. When I see His anger in scripture it appears to be a flash of righteous indignation firing brilliant, hot, and high, then fading, leaving His scent sweetening the air like incense. Jesus. Love incarnate got angry, but He did not sin.

I sinned. I stepped past righteous indignation and spit venom and meaness at my friends who's love would catch it, and send it back to hell. I raged to them so that they would keep me safe, and so that I would not rage to the person who I felt violated me. Someone I trusted. Wounded in the house of my good, Christian friends.

Lord, have mercy.

So, what's a good monster to do? My humanity demands some kind of release. Anger never stays put. It will explode, or implode, sometimes slowly, poisoning all your organs and you realize this thing will, or has killed you. Some don't realize it, and take their anger with them to hell.

If you could say one thing that identifies you as a Christian what would it be? I know exactly what my one thing would be. "By this shall all men know that you are my disciples, if you have love one for another." (John 13:34)

How do you love?

Maybe the best of us really are good monsters, our empty chains clinking strange music, while we regurgitate our empty God talk, dancing in a frenzy, bumping and stumbling into one another, not really meaning to hurt each other at all. And maybe sometimes we do mean it. Monsters. Maybe we wish that fire we dance around would burn inside of us, and are maddened when it doesn't.

A wise mother told me that I can always gauge my spiritual temperature by how much I love other people. I'm not on the mission field. I'm pretty much stuck in the house, spending a lot of time aching in my bed. These empty words I spout between my dance moves is all I really have to offer Jesus. If I use those same words to hurt, then I need to go back to Jesus for a hearty infusion of Him, praying just as He instructed His good monsters to:

"Forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors."
"Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us."
"Forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who have sinned against us."

Forgive me, Jesus. I forgive those who hurt me. At least I'm trying to. Help me. In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.


And hey, if you received my venom, forgive me. Will you pray for me? And thank you, good monster, for the dance. I feel the fire, a little. Do you?


P.S. I'm taking a break for some much needed rest and reflection. I need Jesus. I don't come here regularly anyway, but I'll be completely offline for a few days. I love you, as much as a good monster can.

1 comment:

Bek said...

i'm hearing this: "Father forgive them, for THEY KNOW NOT what they do." those words SAVED me through a really really bad bitter root time. blessings as u reflect with Jesus....