TOBI BENTON

Character Issues

Character Issues

Character Issues

What is it about our nature that leaves us the rewarded ones when we extend kindness to others? Oh, I know BIG I” is my natural gravitational center, ME the axis my thoughts and desires spin on. But there’s something bigger than ME in me.

I checked emails from my iPhone before I even got out of bed this morning.  It was a groggy morning and I needed a few more minutes of down comforter warmth to fortify my day.  I have only a few remaining blog subscriptions delivering directly to my mail, one a new arrival as I watch Elizabeth Esther bravely unfold before the world.

There, right there in my mail box, was one of the most beautiful expressions of gratitude and love I have ever received.  My sweet friend, Mandy from Hearts Undaunted, wrote a love letter to her friends.  She called me by name.  She said a recent moment was filled with grace and helped her be safe in my company because of my prayer, my faith, and my love.  What a sweet blessing to me she is.

And tucked right behind her letter was one from Elizabeth Esther posted at Deeper Story, a letter about gun ownership rights.

I guess I didn’t sit long enough in the warmth of my letter from Mandy.  I greedily gobbled it down and moved on to the next letter.  I rather enjoyed Elizabeth’s rant  post titled “Jesus Didn’t Die to Give You Gun Ownership Rights,” not that I plan to discuss gun control or the 2nd amendment in this space.  Not right now.  Probably never.  Maybe I’m not courageous enough?  Or maybe I just recognize polarity, especially in this medium, gains no ground but instead widens the gully for flash-floods to wash away bridge beams.  And if there is anything I like building, it’s bridges.

Nah.  Probably I’m a coward.

49 comments on gun rights, and by checking my emails first I had already hit the highs and lows a day can bring before my feet had touched the floor.  It’s not gun control in particular I am sad about.  Humanity’s list of great sorrows is endless.  There have been issues throughout time.  Axis points we all try to force others to spin on.  turn this way ~ no, turn my way ~ turn.this.way.  

When a layman has to preach a sermon I think he is most likely to be useful, or even interesting, if he starts exactly from where he is himself, not so much presuming to instruct as comparing notes.  C.S. Lewis

I thought I’d compare notes with you today, Favored One.

My sadness?

Man has ascended the throne, each of us determined to have our moment as king of the hill.  We Christians the protected ones, wearing armor forged from bits and pieces of the Word, hammered into shapes we think will cover each soft, vulnerable place and protect that which we don’t trust our God to do.  Is it even possible to think on His true character divorced from our time and place in history?  Can He be God before and after this place called America?  Because this is what I think.  True wisdom always sees issues from the reality of our living God.

When we clamber up the hill using Jesus’ words to lead the charge against the infringement of our rights all I can see is a Creator God who laid his rights aside to be lifted up on a hill of his own.  The hill where the LORD appeared to us in the past, saying: “I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with loving kindness.”  Jer 31:3

And there it is.  We can’t help but be rewarded in our kindness to one another because kindness is the nature of our Creator.  We, the image-bearers of Christ.  This is the something bigger than ME in me.  The living God in me.

I know.  We have issues.  But for the sake of His good name, can we stop trying to take the hill using bits and pieces of the Word?  His word is true, and faithful, a refuge and stronghold, proof that He is with us to help us.  The Christian voice shares this good news with the world.  For we know the only right we cling to with any reward is the right to become children of God.

The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us.  We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.   John 1:14

5 thoughts on “Character Issues

  1. Stephen Meister

    Beautifully written, as always, my friend! I love the C.S. Lewis quote – especially as I prepare to deliver my first-ever sermon this Sunday. Focus will be a little different, as you might imagine, but I’ll be thinking of you and yours… Blessings!

    1. tobibenton Post author

      Thank you Stephen! I was just speaking of you and Dana last night. You will forever be the friends next door we could freely ask for coffee conversations about living life well. Blessings to you and yours!

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