By Lesley-Anne Evans
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It’s Tuesday evening and we’ve just finished watching my son’s basketball game. It’s late, and supper will definietly be late tonight. I lean over to my husband and say, “I haven’t got anything planned for dinner. Why don’t we go out somewhere on the way home?” “Let’s just pick something up, he says. I don’t feel like going out. I’m tired.” “OK,” I say, stuffing my disappointment and frustration down inside. Better do it his way. Better honour his wishes. But, can’t he see that I’m tired too? Can’t he step up to the plate and take the family out somewhere? I’m sick of cooking, sick of meal planning, sick of never having a break. I paste on a weak smile and go pick up pizza. It takes a little while for me to stuff the anger a little deeper down for future reference. Submissive wives do what their husbands ask them to do, don’t they?
It’s nine o’clock in the evening and the end of a long day. The tv is turned off, the kitchen cleaned up and it’s time for the kids to go to bed. OK, I say, bedtime... expecting immediate obedience to my command. but no, the kids take their sweet time. Can’t they see i mean business? I’m tired, i want to have some down time. my stomach growls as my voice repeats, ok you guys upstairs... now!, and i realized that i can hardly wait for them to go to bed so that my evening can really begin. After rushing through their prayers, brushing off those annoying bedtime questions, I will put on my comfy pj’s, wash my face and put my hair in a pony tail. And then, I’ll answer the call of the box of corn flakes in the pantry.
An evening at the art auction... I was wound up, flushed, excited, couldn’t talk to my friend beside me, side-tracked, distracted (favourite word of my kids) then, got home and the unwrapping revealed an UGLY painting... I had written down the wrong number. I was so mad, so disappointed, so ... angry. Unrealized expecations, unmet desires, what a waste of time... I didn’t get what I wanted, what I competed for, what I deserved. That’s the last time I’m going to that stupid auction, I thought.
We received an invitation to my friends cookout in the woods, but when I condsidered what it would entail... put on winter clothes, drive for an hour, get cold... all for what... to spend time with my friend and her family... too lazy to go, so we didn’t, and the afternoon turned out fine, but still that lingering knowledge that I was too lazy to put the energy into making an effort for someone else... and my family will probably never be given that opportunity again.
My son and i are having a heated discussion about his homework, and i am getting more and more frustrated with his responses to me. he gets in my face and his voice has a disrespectful edge to it. i am angry. i tell him to stop talking like that to me and he doesn’t listen. i lash out and smack him on the arm... then again and again as i stand outside myself and watch the reaction on his face... shock, hurt, and responding anger. i smack him five times, then yell at him to go to his room. i seethe inside. i feel horrible. i know i’m completely out of line but something takes over for a few moments and rational thought vanishes in the red cloud of anger.
My brother e-mails me about an upcoming trip with his new wife, and his wife’s family. they are going away to portugal for two weeks by the sea. they didn’t ask us to go with them. i thought we were close. i thought they were having financial struggles and yet they are doing this trip. i guess that’s what happens when your brother gets married... the wife’s family becomes more important in some way. i wish they had wanted to go on vacation with us...
I’ve entered another writing contest online, and keep checking to see if the winners have been announced. the story i’ve entered is good, creative, different from anything i’ve written before. i deserve recognition for this one, and i know this is publishable. if i get noticed here, then i’ll know that this story is worthy of pusuing. i check the comments on my piece. i’m flabbergasted at what i read. they don’t get it. they don’t see the connection to the meaning at all. are they stupid. why can’t they see the clear underlying message of what i wrote?
If you grew up in the Catholic church like my husband, then you are probably familiar with the concept of the seven deadly sins. You may even know the list my heart. I looked them up on Wikepedia and found this... Wikepedia defines them as, “The seven deadly sins, also known as the capital vices or cardinal sins, are a classification of vices that were originally used in early Christian teachings to educate and instruct followers concerning (immoral) fallen man's tendency to sin.”
Although there is no direct reference to these seven deadly sins in the bible, the teachings of the bible points to several lists of things/unacceptable behaviours that are to be done away with as the christian strives/submits to live in the spirit of Godliness rather than in the flesh and his old way of behaviour before committing to a life of following Christ.. what does that mean anyway???. simplify that... One such reference is found in Proverbs 6:16-19 (message)
The bible says;
16-19 Here are six things God hates,
and one more that he loathes with a passion:
eyes that are arrogant,
a tongue that lies,
hands that murder the innocent,
a heart that hatches evil plots,
feet that race down a wicked track,
a mouth that lies under oath,
a troublemaker in the family.
Now, I don’t know about you, but I find this list harder than the list of the seven. It’s probably because of the way this verse starts with “God hates... “ and that catches my attention even more than sins that are ‘deadly’. So, I look at this list and I immediately say to myself... well, i”m not too bad... I don’t murder the innocent or lie under oath, or hatch evil plots... or do i???
Arrogant eyes sound a lot like pride, and we both know now that I’m guilty of deadly sin number seven. A tongue that lies could be the one that says things with impure motivation... sounds like deadly sin number one to me. Hands that murder the innocent... well, I’m postitive that’s not relevant, other than the impact I had on my son who experienced deadly sin number five at my hand. I think you get the picture. I’m guilty as charged. I fit the profile. I have done things that God hates, that he loathes with a passion.
And here i’m faced with a problem. i could rationalize and justify my list of seven, because although they might look a little less ugly than those in the list above, that is what they are... ugly and wrong. Or, i could recognize my sinfulness and then be lost in remorse and guilt. I’ve gone down these two roads before, but they are dead ends for me.
But, the best choice, the choice i’m faced with, is to take a position of humility before God, daily asking for forgiveness for all the behaviours that still don’t line up with his way of doing things. If i can only accept his grace once again, believe in his ability to forgive and forget my good intentions and poor follow through, my ugly actions and inactions, then i can begin again, clean slate, fresh start.
can you imagine living like this? it might mean freedom from guilt. it might mean lightness of spirit. it might mean leaving baggage behind by the side of the road. it might mean living my life by lists of aspirations, rather than lists of failures. And when we live this way, the unthinkable could be /is possible.
the message puts it this way;
But what happens when we live God's way? He brings gifts into our lives, much the same way that fruit appears in an orchard—things like affection for others, exuberance about life, serenity. We develop a willingness to stick with things, a sense of compassion in the heart, and a conviction that a basic holiness permeates things and people. We find ourselves involved in loyal commitments, not needing to force our way in life, able to marshal and direct our energies wisely.
Galatians 5:22-23 (The Message)
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