Monday, January 26, 2009

"Rotten To The Core"

Growing up on a little farm with fruit trees gives today's title very graphic meaning to me. I have bitten into many apples that looked "slightly bruised" on the surface, only to discover they were rotting from the inside out.

I grew up loving fresh apples from the tree. Rotten ones became ammunition when we boys would build cardboard forts and have "rotten apple fights." But that's another story.

Cathy and I sometimes tease each other about being "rotten to the core." However, rottenness in relationships isn't funny.

I promised you yesterday that I would tell you what -- I believe -- is the only reason relationships get rotten. Your comments to yesterday's post indicate that you pretty much figured it out. Here it is, though, straight from the Bible...

We're all like sheep who've wandered off and gotten lost. We've all done our own thing, gone our own way. (Isaiah 53:6 The Message)

Some time ago, I heard someone say, "We all want to be 'one.' The only problem is that we can't decide which one of us we're going to be." Danae in Non Sequitur has it all figured out. If the whole world would forever and always recognize her as being right, it would be a perfect place to live. At least she's honest about her delusion.

Somehow you and I must face the reality that we all have the tendency to go our own way... And that means conflict! Appropriately dealing with it is, I think, a two-step process.

First, we need to change from the inside out. If our rottenness starts at the core, the core must change. I believe this is what Jesus Christ does with us when we receive Him by faith...

Whoever is a believer in Christ is a new creation. The old way of living has disappeared. A new way of living has come into existence. (2 Corinthians 5:17 GW)

Second, we much choose -- and keep choosing -- to believe that we are not the center of the universe. On the one hand, we each bring value to our corner of the world. Our ideas, dreams, talents, and gifts can all be offered to make a great difference. On the other hand, we are sometimes wrong, often selfish and always limited.

Consequently, we need each other. I tell married couples, "If both of you always see everything exactly the same way and would take the same action in every situation, one of you isn't necessary!"

In her comments yesterday, Julie asked a question in which she quoted something from my other blog: "Maybe there's some practical step I need to take to move it from "Desire to Discipline to Delight?" I think I will pick that one up tomorrow.

In the meantime, would some more of you like to share a relationship story with us?

Or just comment...

1 comment:

C. Beth said...

So if I really AM the center of the world, do I need to buy into the delusion that I'm NOT? :)

Just kidding....

Zoodle thinks he's the center of the universe. Considering how much a 10-month-old needs to depend on others, that's a healthy belief at his age.

Chickie is learning she's NOT the center of the universe. As hard as that is for a three-year-old, it's something she needs to get a handle on if she is to build good friendships as she gets older.

Yesterday when you were using Chickie examples in your sermon, it got me to thinking--the reason those examples are effective is because we all sometimes act like three-year-olds (and sometimes even infants!)

We all have this desire to be the center, don't we? Really it's a desire to feel loved beyond measure. Often I seek that from my husband. He's great but he doesn't love me perfectly and won't ever!

But when I successfully keep God at the center (which happens a lot more rarely than I'd like), He has enough love to fill that need. And then I don't have to put so much pressure on the people around me to fill a role they aren't mean to fill, that of loving me perfectly.

It's just so much easier to turn to people I can see than a God I can't.