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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Encouragement (among believers) (11/08/07)

By john garner


Without love I am nothing.

1. Though, I think myself patient with you and even with God, I find that what I am is self-absorbed, believing that I am trusting in God while all along I am just trying to prove my case. (The most prevalent word throughout this work, as you will see, is “I”.)

2. I have not been kind about the depth of damage that I have caused to you, my loving wife, and I have been presumptuous as to what the remedy should be for my sin against you.

3. I have not been content with what God has given me and sought out my own goals, thinking that I deserved happiness while ignoring yours. While doing so, all the promises and commitments that were made to you were being ignored. (Could this get any worse? Read on.)

4. Last night the blindness was especially visible through my boasting about God speaking to me, as if what I had done was over and I was clean. What arrogance! And to make matters worse, it was in front of such loyal, humble friends. It’s like what Dr. Mcgee said, “a tire is pumped up full of air but when you stick a nail in it there’s nothing left. I am so ashamed of how far I have sunk.

5. My intent last night was to proclaim my love for you and make a commitment before our friends and God, but, ironically, what was revealed was rudeness and self-righteousness and the obvious influence of evil. This was the perfect example of acting unbecomingly, as you could all readily see.

6. Was I truly seeking what was best for you? Am I best for you? Based on last night and over the last two years, the evidence is stacked toward the negative. It’s no wonder that it seemed divorce was the best option. I have been seeking my own way even when claiming that God was with me.

7. See, how easily I was provoked when your truthful words condemned me and I lashed out at you? I even shocked myself. God help me.

8. Wasn’t it a great testimony when I continued to focus on the wrongs I had suffered? How blind could I have been?

9. It must have been obvious that I was taking great pleasure in pointing out your failures to make mine seem justified. Where was the compassion that was there 28 years ago? If I truly forgave, then why do I have to bring it up again?

10. Not only did I not bear all things, I didn’t bear anything, and all I had were excuses. Who was I trying to protect, certainly not you. Of course, it was me. (This is really getting heavy.)

11. Was I believing what God was telling me through our friends and you? How could I? I was too busy defending myself.

12. Surely, I must have had hope in something, right? All my hope was centered on my efforts to convince you that I was right and that I knew what God wanted. (Have you noticed all the “I’s.”)

13. In this case, “enduring all things” should have meant that I kept my mouth shut so that everyone wouldn’t see my foolishness and pride, but I was too proud of myself for that.

If love had been the focus, the failure would not have been so dramatic but, in this case, the absence of love was beyond a shadow of doubt. Maybe God has begun to open the eyes but they are only squinting and just seeing shadows of light. Pray that God will continue to reveal the awful pride and possibly even save a doomed marriage and that this man may some day become worthy, as seen through the justification of Christ. Just as Peter told Jesus to depart from him because he was full of evil, this man also realizes his helplessness and now can begin to look up, no longer trusting his own mind, not even his own heart, but with one focus alone, the Grace of God. He has smelled the stench of his own words and now realizes the miraculous truth that she has chosen to remain with him in spite of his filth. How much encouragement do you need?

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Member Comments
Member Date
Jan Ackerson 11/15/07
Wow, I feel as if I've just peeked into someone's most private moments. This is very raw and real...

I'm not clear on how it fits the topic of encouragement, but it sure fits with "humility" or "relationships." A powerful entry.
Seema Bagai 11/15/07
Powerful emotions in this piece.
Debbie Wistrom11/16/07
I don't know what to say, I think there must be much more here, maybe 13 chapters of a book. You tugged at my heart with your admissions. I pray for a happy ending.