“In passing we should note this curious mark of our age: The only absolute allowed is the absolute insistence that there is no absolute.” Francis A. Schaeffer
I am told I tend to speak in absolutes. The word which most often draws attention to my dysfunction is “always.” The thing is that I know when I am speaking and using the word “always” that I may not mean “always” as an absolute.
Actually, I’m not sure what I may mean when using that word the moment it escapes through my lips. What I know is that it often does not mean what others take it to mean. However, that isn’t their responsibility. It is mine, and it brings me to this question. Is it possible there are additional ideas and notions coming from me for which I tend to hold others responsible rather than accept the responsibility is mine?
What drives humanity to strive to lay blame for our own actions, thoughts, words, and reactions on how others behave, what they say, or write? Why is it so difficult to acknowledge our character flaws? Is it because we are often unable to accept God’s grace and love and His mercy? Could it also be an inability to believe in the talents and gifts He has placed in us?
God tells us He is merciful. He promises to never remember our iniquities or sins ever again. God speaks in absolutes; maybe He is the only one who can. His promises are definitely absolutes!
“There is a flow to history and culture. This flow is rooted and has its wellspring in the thoughts of people. People are unique in their inner life of the mind—what they are in their thought world determines how they act. This is true of their value systems and it is true of their creativity. It is true of their corporate actions, such as their political decisions, and it is true of their personal lives. The results of their thought world flow through their fingers or from their tongues into the external world. This is true of Michelangelo’s chisel, and it is true of a dictator’s sword.” How Should We Then Live, Francis A. Schaeffer
In the quote above, we are exposed to the intriguing idea that addresses how our mindset impacts every area of our lives and culture. This is not a new concept. Jesus told us men spoke out of the fullness of their hearts. Schaeffer just confirms that this same absolute shapes our lives, our culture, and continues to shape our history. So what does this mean to anyone, especially to those who claim to be disciples of Jesus? Are we once more seeing words on a page that make us pause for a second before we move on thinking how profound are the words of God, Jesus, and this author Francis Schaeffer? Is that as far as it goes?
I’ve been writing this blog, Grace in Process, and I wonder just how far have I processed in this grace I claim is so consuming? Is it changing my value system; does it impact my culture? Does God’s grace determine how I act and is it the driving force in my mind’s inner life? And if I have any creativity, is it being driven by the grace I so glibly speak about? And I wonder, have any of you been challenged by this blog? Or has it been merely something to pass the time, to let pass by because it has nothing to offer? Are you different today because God has touched your life through the words and thoughts He has shared here? Or has He been the one bringing the words? That’s the dilemma I faced as I read and typed the quotes above. Have I allowed God to search me and use me to be what He called me to be for maybe just one person who needed to know there was more to God than we were ever told? Did that person learn that God absolutely loves us, He absolutely offers grace based on His love alone, that He absolutely chose death rather than live without you or me?
If all you got out of the last two years were those last absolutes, then it has been enough! Because that is what God is about, absolutes which offer more than we ever knew or realized, more than we could have ever hoped existed. These absolutes can change us and our culture as they become the inner life of our mind’s, unique and wonderful! They offer exactly what we need, what the World needs. They offer life beyond everything we see as life, a life that exceeds circumstances. It is a life that leads us to know there is so much more than what we think or see or feel. Life is defined by God as relational. It leads us to realize it transcends the physical world and connects us to the Spiritual.
God promises to take us beyond what we think is possible. Will you and I believe Him? Isn’t it time to accept His word is an absolute that you can experience? I know His Grace is real. I believe His Grace is real because I experience it constantly, even when I don’t believe I am! That’s what makes God’s grace so amazing and transforming. That’s why we can say yes, we are different from who we were two years ago. Not because of what I’ve written, but because God caused me to write as I experienced this Grace I in no way deserve but so desperately need!
My hope is you will know the filling of your mind’s inner life with His grace. I hope you will understand it is a process of a moment, of a lifetime, of an eternity, and it is the work of our Creator. It is a work—a process He loves—one He longs for us to embrace and love rather than fear. It is a process of His grace and love and mercy, and those are His absolutes we can absolutely count on!
“Search me, Oh God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts. And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting!” Psalm 139:23-24 ESV
“For I will be merciful toward their iniquities, and I will remember their sins no more.” Hebrews 8:12 ESV