Thursday, March 13, 2008

Irritabilty and a soul-searching conscience

Did you ever wake up irritable? Are you irritable for no specific reason? Over the years I’ve quit trying to figure out why these “irritable days” come into our lives. One lesson I have learned is that I must work hard not to make that “irritable” feeling ruin my whole day. At 11 o’clock yesterday morning I had to take an adult “time out” to gain proper perspective. I’ll tell you why…

Earlier I received a call from a trash hauler saying our recycled cardboard container at one of the smaller properties that we manage has been overflowing and that we need to increase our service. I asked her “What constitutes an overflowing container?” Her answer was “Anytime the lid doesn’t close completely.” “As a matter of fact” she said, “you were one ton over on the pick-up this week.” I told her I found it hard to believe we would get one ton of cardboard out of a 25,000 square foot building in six months much less be over one ton in one week.

A friend of mine happens to have a son who is a former driver for the company and is now the current Safety Director. I called him about the situation. He said the recycled cardboard is never weighed and felt that the comment was a total lie.

I called the lady back and confronted her about what she had said. She finally admitted that the only purpose of the call was to intimidate me (my description, not hers) into signing up for more service. What concerned me was this—she was not the least bit contrite. What has happened to us as a society and a nation? When a nation loses its conscience, hard tough days are ahead. Russian writer Fyodor Dostoevsky said: "If God does not exist, everything is lawful."

There is a limit to God’s patience. In Romans is says: “God gave them over…”; over to what? Romans 1:28-32 (NIV) says: “Furthermore, since they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, he gave them over to a depraved mind, to do what ought not to be done. They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; they are senseless, faithless, heartless, ruthless. Although they know God's righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.”

In light of the truth of these verses, I need to do some personal soul searching, an “adult time-out” as it were. I read Romans 2:1-4: “You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge the other, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things. Now we know that God's judgment against those who do such things is based on truth. So when you, a mere man, pass judgment on them and yet do the same things, do you think you will escape God's judgment? Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, tolerance and patience, not realizing that God's kindness leads you toward repentance?” What have I done to bring this lady the truth of Jesus Christ?

No, I may not do exactly as this woman did but I need to be reminded that I sin also, and every day, every hour, I need God’s grace and forgiveness. Yes, I do, and I’m grateful.

This week it would be easy to point our finger at Elliott Spitzer. But before we point, let’s do some serious soul searching.

Thank you Jesus, forgive me. Don’t give me over. I thank you that you love me not for what I’ve done or not done but you love me because I’m yours. Amen.

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