Thursday, March 26, 2009

I think, therefore I kill you.

You have heard that it was said to those of ancient times, 'You shall not murder'; and 'whoever murders shall be liable to judgment.' But I say to you that if you are angry with a brother or sister, you will be liable to judgment .... You have heard that it was said, 'You shall not commit adultery.' But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lust has already committed adultery with her in his heart.

Matthew 5: 21-22, 27-28.

I see the Sermon on the Mount get used quite a bit to demonstrate just how sinful everyone is -- while you may not have physically murdered someone, if you were angry with them, that's just as bad. While you may have been physically faithful to your wife, looking at a non-wife woman is just as bad. Emotions and thoughts carry as much weight as actions do in the eyes of God. When you finally stand before God, He'll still have a fierce judgment for you even if all you did was think angry thoughts towards another person.

Yet, if thoughts carry that much weight, hold the same merit as actions do, does that mean that it works in reverse? Say I come across a starving person, and think loving, compassion thoughts towards him, or think about how much I'd love to give him food, and yet physically don't give him anything.

I highly doubt anyone would tell me that thinking about giving him food was just as good as giving him actual food.

Say person A is murdering person B, and I happen to stumble across the crime. I stand there, thinking that I should really stop person A, even picture myself doing so. Yet, I just watch as person B gets killed.

No one would congratulate me for stopping such an awful crime, even though I had good intentions towards doing so.

And we see this same situation in the Bible -- faith without works is dead. If a brother or sister is naked and lacks daily food, and one of you says to them, 'Go in peace; keep warm and eat your fill," and yet you do not supply their bodily needs, what is the good of that? James 2: 14-16

Thoughts alone don't seem to carry equal weight when it comes to being judged. Bad thoughts alone are enough to get one condemned, no matter what the action is, but good thoughts alone aren't enough to escape condemnation.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

I believe in a God I don't talk to.

I've been pondering lately the ways in which I believe in God. And I'm not sure I can say that I believe in a God who personally interacts and cares about how I/we go about our lives.

For example, one of my co-workers was pregnant. She was two weeks away from delivery, only to have the baby strangled by the umbilical cord. When I learned about this, I felt an incredibly amount of grief and compassion for her -- not just for what she lost, but that she got that far into the pregnancy, and was so close. That, if she ever becomes pregnant again, she won't be able to enjoy the experience. That she had the room prepared, the name picked out, all her dreams about how she'd raise her child, and all of that was gone.

In looking back, not once did I pray to God asking Him to be there for her, to shower her with peace, or any of that. I didn't pray to God, asking how this could happen. I didn't actually pray to God, period.

In a second example, I found this week that I had made an unavoidable mistake when I submitted some numbers to another department (unavoidable because I interpreted what I was supposed to differently than how the other department operates, and there was no way for my interpretation to be caught until I saw the final numbers). Fixing this mistake is going to affect every other department.

In telling people what happened, and trying to see if it even can be fixed, I was trying to think of solutions. It was maybe five or six hours later that I thought I would pray to God ... followed quickly by a thought of having no idea how that would help. Either the mistake can be fixed, or it can't.

Based on these two examples, I see no way that I can currently say that I believe in some sort of personal God. If I did, wouldn't I be interacting with God in the two examples I listed?

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Two hands can hold a lot of information.

I've been reading a lot of different blogs recently, and two things jumped out at me. Or maybe it's one thing, with two sides.

On the one hand, I've seen a lot of comments that essentially say the more one devotes to Christianity/Jesus/God, the more one is aware of one's need for a Savior. Your awareness of your sinful state is constantly re-enforced and revealed to you, and shows you more and more just how far aware you'll ever be from being like Jesus on your own.

On the other hand, there's the idea that the more one follows the path of Christianity, lets Jesus mold you/shape you/change you, the more Christ-like you become.

I've been trying to figure out if both ideas can be true at the same time, and I don't think they can be. If one is becoming more Christ-like -- the second option -- then wouldn't there be less of an awareness of one's sinful state, since there'd be less sin inhabiting a person, compared to the pre-Christian years? And, vice versa, if the journey with Jesus leads one more and more aware of one's sinful state, then one is in fact not becoming more Christ-like?