Friday, December 18, 2009
Pleasing, pandering and placating
I admit it,
I like to be liked, and I don't like it when what I say or do upsets people. I hate the sense of failure, the endless rehearsals of conversations that have already happened and the echoes of words that weren't said going round and round in my head. I hate the sense of needing to put right what I didn't think I had done wrong in the first place, the restless pacing and the troubled sleep..
There is absolutely nothing to like about being at the root of some one's irritation.. there is nothing pleasing or satisfying about causing frustration, distress, anguish, or anger - either deliberately or inadvertently.
Even if it is sometimes gospel work.
When you sent me to minister you didn't give me an excuse to do all that I can to please, pander to or placate someone by holding silence or worse - by not telling the truth or by lying. You sent me to find a way to speak the truth in love - and demanded that I love the truth enough to be prepared to speak it regardless of the cost.
But its hard to love a truth that few seem to value and even fewer are prepared to commit to.
Who wants truth at Christmas? All we want is snow, Santa, mince-pies, carols, candles and plenty of peace on earth..
We don't want to know about people dying because of our greed, expenditure and thoughtlessness. We don't want to know that most families will throw away more food in three days over Christmas than some families have to eat all month... leave alone the truth that we could change all that - if we really wanted to..
But just imagine what a gift it could be to the world if every Christian chose to give life instead of aftershave or bubble-bath for Christmas. If everyone of us gave the money we had intended to spend on presents to someone who would spend it on staying alive, realising their potential, growing in grace, and building a world fit for life...
What could happen if instead of pandering to the consumerist god, instead of trying to please everyone by getting family and friends what THEY want and placating our sense of unease by giving a token sum to charity over Christmas, every Christian did what YOU expect of us.. just once?
The truth is - at Christmas we celebrate the fact that You, who could have had everything, chose instead to empty yourself of everything - so that we might have life...
And you call us to do the same..
Its not popular, and doing it will upset many a soul expecting an ipod, or a computer, or a bike or a digi-box or a sat-nav or a box of chocolates.. especially if we have the courage to tell them why.. but just once maybe...
It might make this Christmas more of a celebration of what YOU want!