We are all infected and impure with sin. When we display our righteous deeds, they are nothing but filthy rags. Like autumn leaves, we wither and fall, and our sins sweep us away like the wind.
“Okay, I want a left, right. A good jab and a strong, straight right.”
My daughter has on bright pink 8oz boxing gloves. She’s keeping her guard up as she punches the pads I have on my hands. The gloves and pads were an early Valentine’s Day present and we’ve been working with them for a few weeks.
No, no, they weren’t my idea. She asked for them. Oh, and she and her mother got manicures and pedicures for Valentine’s Day, too. I hope the gloves aren’t wrecking her new nails.
The girl has good balance and better body mechanics. She has real power in her right. I’m impressed. I’m proud when we work with the pads. And just like that I’m stung. Pride. Hello, old friend.
We were asked a while back in church to consider, if we suddenly stopped believing in God, would anyone notice? Would our lives be visibly different? Would our attitude show it instantly? Would the world see the change?
It stopped me cold. Would it be obvious if I pitched it all in? I wasn’t sure.
Then I wondered if my old pals from back in the day were to hang out with me, would they see a difference. Would they notice the change?
It got me to smiling.
My daughter threw a quick hook into the pad on my left that got my attention. I barely caught half of her glove on the pad and my whole forearm smarted.
“Sorry dad,” she said as she backed up, shaking her hair out of her eyes.
“Don’t be,” I replied. “I was daydreaming. But keep your left up,” I cautioned as I popped the pad toward her face.
She faded back and came forward, flicking her left and following up with a pounding right.
Recently, social media has been blowing up with all the 50 Shades of Grey stuff and frankly it’s gotten under my skin. But I’ve kept my own council.
I actually saw someone try to argue that – get this – it’d be better for young women to read 50 Shades than the Bible. Granted, it was in response to a pretty silly Christian meme, but the ludicrous argument this person made that a bit of mommy porn that was universally panned as horribly written, somehow compared to the Bible, which has been taught as literature in nearly every Western university, that inspired the Sistine Chapel, bugged me even from a purely secular view.
But i didn’t respond. As much as I wanted to, I kept my fingers off the keyboard.
The pads are singing now. Left, pop – right, pop, left hook, pow. We dance around the living room, my daughter laughing between bursts of activity. We work on uppercuts for the first time. It’s awkward for her but she keeps with it, slinging her right skyward into the pads.
My pals from back in the day would know it took a lot from me not to unload on folks on Facebook. How much I would have loved to roll up on the fools and blast them with both barrels from my keyboard. I think they would realize the self-control that took. That the old John would have not only blasted away without restraint, or pity, but would have taken great pride in the whole affair.
Yes, that was me. Yes, that’s me still. The fact I’m even typing this now is prideful. Pride, pride, pride.
I understand that it stings like crap when someone points out your sin and the natural reaction is to sting back. They take it personally, like I did, like I still do, even though sin is universal.
We’re all flawed. We all have no righteous standing before God. Our personal obsessions, sexual and otherwise; our intellect; our reasoning; our moral outrage at someone else’s moral outrage, is like the yapping of a bunch of dogs.
“Ok, work hard now, we’re about to stop,” I tell the girl. “Left, right. Left, right. Left, right.” She follows me, her pink fists flying. Most of her punches connecting solidly even though I’m shifting the pads to make them difficult targets.
Maybe the question isn’t, if I stopped believing would anybody notice but instead, would folks who knew the old, non-Christian me see the difference nowadays?
I slide the pads off my hands as my daughter bites at the straps on her gloves and pulls them off. Her nails are intact.
“You did well,” I tell her.
Yes, I think they’d think I was different – that the old John wasn’t there all the time anymore. Though his old sinful self is still peeking around, like an unwelcome guest.
Is that pride or the simple assessment of the truth? Knowing me, it’s likely pride.
“We’ll do this again tomorrow after homework,” I tell my daughter. “We still have a lot to work on.”
So do I. So do I.