Human progress is neither automatic nor inevitable… Every step toward the goal of justice requires sacrifice, suffering, and struggle; the tireless exertions and passionate concern of dedicated individuals.
Martin Luther King, Jr. in Stride Toward Freedom, 1957
So I find that, as a rule, when I want to do what is good, evil is right there with me. I gladly agree with the Law on the inside, but I see a different law at work in my body. It wages a war against the law of my mind and takes me prisoner with the law of sin that is in my body. I’m a miserable human being. Who will deliver me from this dead corpse? Thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord!
The other day I wrote about how it was a struggle for me to help those who hold signs out on street corners even though I knew at times I could and I should.
One day, God upended my policy of not helping. I was driving to a restaurant, and as I pulled off the interstate there stood a man holding one of those signs in need of help. I went through all those assumptions I had and reaffirmed that I wasn’t going to help — even though I could, and I probably should. Until…
Minutes later outside the restaurant a woman approached me. She said she was having a rough time and could use some gas money. Immediately, I said, “Here,” giving her some money. Wait… this isn’t me. This isn’t my policy. And yet somehow I was nudged to give.
Paul gives gratitude to God through Jesus Christ as the one who can save us from our sin. I’d like to believe outside the restaurant, this “miserable human being” (that's me!) had one of those saving moments.
Surprising God, I thank you for those moments when you flip my sin into love. Continue to create in me a compassionate heart and a loving spirit for all your people. Amen.
It's great to be able to stop
When you've planned a thing that's wrong,
And be able to do something else instead
And think this song:
I can stop when I want to
Can stop when I wish.
I can stop, stop, stop any time.
And what a good feeling to feel like this
And know that the feeling is really mine.
Know that there's something deep inside
That helps us become what we can.
from “What Do You Do With the Mad That You Feel?” by Fred M. Rogers, 1968