Recently I watched a preacher as he preached his heart out on TV, as I watched the camera pulled back and as the audience was panned I was shocked to see how few people there were in the building to hear him. There was a time you couldn’t get near the campus of that church, and to get him to come to your local church was impossible. There are many large works that seem to have imploded, and it doesn’t seem that long ago that large congregations would clamor for seats up front, and prestigious speakers and singers wanted to be on those stages.
As I thought on those things an old song crossed my mind, one verse says: “Tears and fears and feeling proud to say “I love you” right out loud, Dreams and schemes and circus crowds, I’ve looked at life that way. But now old friends are acting strange, they shake their heads; they say I’ve changed. Something’s lost but something’s gained in living every day. I’ve looked at life from both sides now, from win and lose, and still somehow it’s life’s illusions I recall. I really don’t know life at all.” I let myself get fully submerged in the feeling that particular song brings, sadness at lost hope, love, illusions and I felt sorry that we as humans try so hard to make it big, then go about doing things that causes our own downfall, taking us to right back where we started. We live our lives and sometimes we begin to believe our own PR and that’s where the trouble starts. Business tycoons do it every day as money becomes more important to them than the trust people have put in them by trusting them with their life savings. A preacher gets disgraced, a tycoon gets put in jail, and aren’t they both in a prison of their own making? Do I look at anyone with scorn? No. Pity? Not that either. It is with sadness and a wish that I could help make a difference somehow, and the desire to examine my own heart for things that could bring me down.
The Psalmist David said, Psalm 139:1 O Lord, You have searched me and known me. Then in verse 23, Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: Then David does the very thing he needed most to do, he gave God permission in verse 24, And see if there is any wicked way in me, And lead me in the way everlasting.
One of the hardest things for us as independent humans to do is give permission to anyone to search us and change us into the way they think we should be! Men and women try it all the time on each other, it doesn’t work well there either. If you truly look at yourself the way others see you, you might be surprised that you are not the stellar citizen you think you are. 1Corinthians 11:31 For if we would judge ourselves, we would not be judged.
When someone has wronged me, all I need is for them to admit they did it, not make excuses, and then say two simple words, “I’m Sorry” and all is forgiven and forgotten, for real. We are made in God’s image so if that is something I will accept God would also. 1John 1:9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. Luke 6:41-42 “It’s easy to see a smudge on your neighbor’s face and be oblivious to the ugly sneer on your own. Do you have the nerve to say, ‘Let me wash your face for you,’ when your own face is distorted by contempt? It’s this I-know-better-than-you mentality again, playing a holier-than-thou part instead of just living your own part. Wipe that ugly sneer off your own face and you might be fit to offer a washcloth to your neighbor.
I’ve looked at life from both sides now, win or lose, still somehow I’ve found that the one thing we can always count on to change not is Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, today and forever!