Friday, February 26, 2010

Respect Comes From the Heart

I teach Latin at a Christian study center. Yesterday I observed two girls obviously and openly disrespect the center administrator. One thing led to another until I found myself involved in the process of seeking repentance leading to forgiveness and reconciliation. The process didn't go very well!
I was astonished that neither girl was willing to own up to the blatant offense nor was either willing to apologize.
Acknowledging wrong, confessing personal responsibility, asking forgiveness and even being willing to make any restitution required seems a no-brainer for any believer in Jesus.
It was so sad for me to watch playing out in live technicolor a process that flew in the face of all that God requires of us. It was alarming to realize that our culture has drifted so far from our Biblical moorings that we have apparently (as a nation and individually) lost all sense of sin and shame, consequences, grace and forgiveness.
The great epiphany for me was that respect in name only is not respect at all. Respect has to come from the heart. That's key! THEN when disrespectful actions and attitudes happen, there is common framework to deal with the heart issues. Only when our hearts are changed by God's loving grace can we ever understand the egregious nature of our offense.
Then there is the whole issue of what Jesus did on the cross - taking my sin and shame and giving me His grace, forgiveness and righteousness!
Jesus spoke about the truth that our hearts determine our attitudes and actions:
No good tree bears bad fruit, nor does a bad tree bear good fruit. Each tree is recognized by its own fruit. People do not pick figs from thornbushes, or grapes from briers. The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For out of the overflow of his heart his mouth speaks. (Luke 6:43-45)
John Donne wrote, "Batter my heart, three-Person God ... and make me new!"
Restoration starts in the heart and God alone can accomplish real, lasting restoration!

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