"Thanks and thanks again to Him who offers to the man whom the sorrows of life have assaulted and left naked–offers to him the fig leaf of the Word with which he can cover his wretchedness." -Søren Kierkegaard

The Most Gentle Response I Could Think of…

Posted in Day-To-Day by matt on Thursday, February 19, 2009

People have pointed out to me that the post prior to this one is a little “warm ‘n fuzzy”. Ya, ya… I know it’s positive and even a little sentimental toward the end, but why is sentimentality such a bad thing? I mean, how often do you hear Matt-the-cynic writing congenial posts about sentimental slop and world peace?

Well I’m coming out with it: I’m happy, I’m a little cheesy, and there’s nothing you can do about it (apart from not read my junk, haha). I just don’t believe everything written or viewed has to be full of emotional angst or fiery indignation.

If you know me at all you’re probably thinking, “Am I at the right blog?”

I’ll confess that I’m usually pretty negative and cynical about the gooier things in life, but I would be a hypocrite not to confess that I’m a hypocrite. And that openness about my hypocrisy, in my humble opinion, sets things straight.

If a hypocrite says he’s a hypocrite then he’s not one, but if a hypocrite refuses to admit to being a hypocrite he’s only choosing to live in perpetual hypocrisy. One of these options leaves you stranded, the other makes room for grace and repentance. Doncha just love paradox?

Anyway, back to the main thing. Oh ya! what makes hapiness and rosy-hued pictures silly and naive?! “Because that’s not how life is!” this passionately-jaded generation of mine screams back. “Hunger, poverty, injustice, war, materialism, and the list goes on… the world just isn’t like that, and it’s naive to think so.”

Wrong.

I don’t think that’s the reason at all. True, the world’s horrifically messed up, but isn’t Jesus bigger than all of those things you listed? But that’s not why we hold sentimentality and happiness in contempt.  No, we hate it because it’s difficult. It’s the minority.  We love to connect and relate to others through our pain because it’s easy. The world is broken and everyone knows it, so let’s all express that in a trillion different ways to feel like we’re connected – brilliant.

This is the reason many people mindlessly respond with “busy” or “tired” every time time they’re asked “How are you?”, it’s why art can’t be publicly considered “good” unless it’s full of pain and emotional turmoil, and it’s one reason so many Christians are deficient of joy. 

If you’re reading this and you don’t follow Jesus then this doesn’t pertain, but if you do then I truly hope you hear me clearly say that the Lord offers joy that goes way deep. And I believe He connects us to people in a deep way when we put our perspective in the right position.

God in Christ offers us satisfaction that can be shared if we’ll just chose to do it. It’s tragic to think that the best way to connect with people is through brokenness and sin, but that’s what we do! The Church has the shared Spirit of God that bears fruit in us and connects us to one another, and we shouldn’t apologize to others if they think that’s too rosy or naive.

So I don’t.

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6 Responses

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  1. ben said, on Thursday, February 19, 2009 at 9:25 pm

    Okay. Okay.

    “Am I at the right blog?”

    The happiest emo kid you know is excited for the fellowship of joy. Good word, brother.

  2. tim said, on Thursday, February 19, 2009 at 11:11 pm

    don’t apologize.
    i hear you and i like it.
    you know i can always benefit from such words.

    let us not run too far and forget, though, that bearing one another’s burdens in a genuine way is a beautiful thing–not lame. And no one should apologize for that either, b/c Christ told us to do it. It’s a wonderful way in which we are reminded of this overwhelming power of God that so often, on our own, we forget.
    keep on. peace.

  3. Dad said, on Sunday, February 22, 2009 at 11:14 pm

    does admitting hypocrisy change hypocrisy? Well, it could lead to the beginning of change but hypocrisy is hypocrisy admitted or not. However, i have to admit my hypocrisy and tell you this is a great word, Son!

  4. matt said, on Monday, February 23, 2009 at 1:55 am

    ben:

    Thanks man. And you know I was just kidding about the emo comment. You just looked a little emo in your portrait picture. I don’t even know what emo is, but I’m sure you looked a bit like it.

    tim:

    Thanks for reading bro. And thanks especially for your reminder. I need to hear things like that to keep me balanced.

    Da:

    I guess you’re right, I may have stretched the whole paradox idea a bit too far, but I do still think “it could lead to the beginning of change,” as you said. I’m so excited about seeing you in a couple months!!!

  5. Dad said, on Monday, February 23, 2009 at 11:17 pm

    My favorite writers use short sentences (2 or 3 words) in one paragraph. You do it extremely well.

    You rock.

  6. Melissa said, on Tuesday, February 24, 2009 at 12:59 am

    hey Matt! Great reading your blog. I have really enjoyed seeing all your pics of you and Kayla. Please join me in prayer for Jessica Young. You can read her blog on my blog site. God is using her in mighty ways but there are spiritual struggles all around her. Thanks Matt, great seeing you all through pics! I have some friends in Thailand right now and they are looking at being missionaries there. They are North of you all. I will get their email address and send it to you. They asked me to do that so they can have contact with other christians working in Thailand.


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