When I get honest, I admit I am a bundle of paradoxes. I believe and I doubt, I hope and get discouraged, I love and I hate, I feel bad about feeling good, I feel guilty about not feeling guilty. I am trusting and suspicious. I am honest and I still play games. Aristotle said I am a rational animal; I say I am an angel with an incredible capacity for beer.” — Brennan Manning

Philippians 3:7-14
Hebrews 12:1-2
Colossians 3:1-4

One man loves well but he cannot manage money. She manages money but struggles to care for her husband. He cares for his family and serves in his community but is addicted to work. She loves the Lord but drinks herself to sleep at night. She swears and smokes and has a short temper, but has a soft and generous heart. He’s defensive and fearful but passionate about justice and mercy. He gives to the poor, cares for orphans and widows, but struggles with pornography.

This is who we are. We are a people in process. We are all incomplete.

Yet why then do we fight to disbelieve that we should be complete? Why do we hate ourselves for unachieved completion? Have we ever looked critically at the people that God loved, chose, honored, befriended?

Elijah complained about the situations he endured as God’s prophet.

Noah, God’s choice for saving mankind during the flood, one drank himself unconscious.

Jacob, the father of Israel, lied and cheated.

Moses killed a man, fled justice and failed to believe God’s promise about bringing water from a rock. But he did lead God’s people out of slavery in Egypt.

Jonah, whom God used to speak to a city of 500,000, attempted to escape because he was afraid and ran from God.

David took a man’s wife, and when she became pregnant, then killed her husband, one of his most loyal soldiers. Yet the Bible still regards David as a “man after God’s own heart.”

Solomon, full of wisdom, followed his wives to other gods.  God chose him to build his temple.

Samson, on whom the Spirit of God rested, wrought destruction everywhere he went.

Abraham, always terrified and lying to save himself, heard God call him to be father of the nations.

Peter betrayed Jesus three times. Jesus named him the Rock.

Paul persecuted the early followers of Jesus, overseeing their executions. He then wrote the majority of the New Testament.

Zaccheus, who had cheated so many of so much, hosted the Lord at his home.

Some lived badly and transformed into good. Some lived well and behaved badly at times.  The Lord has a history of claims on both types of people. But these people God loved. These people God continued to shape, to embrace, to teach.

We know these people because we are these people. We cheat, steal, lie, fornicate, gamble, lust, kill, betray, persecute, complain, run, seek false gods, destroy, hate. The list goes on. But so do his love and his careful attention to our process of growth and maturation.

We’re incomplete. But only for now. The God who chose us has not done so simply because he needed work done in the world. He chose us because he wants work done in us. And he’s still busy doing it, preparing us to live as we engage in the process.

To whom do you not show love and mercy because the process they are in frustrates you?
How are you in process?
Can you offer yourself forgiveness in this? Can you offer the same to others in process? 


© 2008