Avoiding Manholes and Other Musings

This morning as I lay in bed, reflecting and praying, thinking of all the thoughts I should be avoiding, an amusing analogy came to me. Some of you may recall the story of the girl who was walking down the street texting when she fell into an open manhole. Well, as I considered my situation today, it seemed that I was walking down the street of life and needed to be alert and observant so as not to fall into any of the open manholes that unquestionably lay before me, holes of thought that would drop me suddenly into the sewer of my flesh, unpleasant, painful, and often difficult to find my way out of. I have to grope along in the dark for a while, it seems, until I find a not very obvious ladder to freedom.

I think it’s a matter of volition on some level. I can know the doctrine I need to confront the thoughts, recall it and even believe it so much as I’m able…and yet not seem to be able to turn off the negative thinking. Sometimes I think I only want to believe the doctrines, but am not yet totally convinced they are true. Oh, I’m convinced the Bible teaches them, but when I’m down there in the dark and the stink, they don’t seem so real and compelling as they do when I’m topside. [hmm. Could that be because when I’m in the sewer I’m not filled with the Spirit and the flesh is NEVER going to believe the truths of the word of God? Have to think on that… ]

Anyway, I do have to say that applying the concepts of being dead to the sin nature has helped a lot. So has recognizing a lot of the sins that start driving me. It’s only been recently that I’ve become aware of the subtle  self-righteousness that lurks in being “right”. For the sake of argument here, assume I am right in a situation and the other person is wrong. Part of why some things/thoughts are so hard to let go is because “I’m right!” Thus I feel justified in the thoughts that I’m having. When really, I’m not. I’ve fallen into self-righteousness. It’s not up to me to make an issue of who’s right or wrong, only to make sure I remain in fellowship with my Lord.

More and more I’m seeing that for us as Christians it’s hands off. Hands off the details of life and hands off other peoples’ lives. Prior to the trip to San Diego, there were many, many uncertainties as to logistics, timing, how we were going to do some of the things we were being called upon to do. Just thinking of it would make my brain cramp, so I just put it all in God’s hands. He’d handle all the details, as He assured me through many different avenues last week. Of course on the trip everything continued to shift and change and I never really knew what was going to happen until it did. Trust Him to handle the details doesn’t mean handle them so that things work out the way I think they should. Trust Him to handle the details means He’ll handle them so that things work out as He’s decreed (which means all works out “perfectly”) and I’m not to obsess and fret about them. It’s a lesson I have to continually repeat.

But there are other ways we’re to be hands off as well, and that’s with regard to others’ lives. As I’ve grown more and more aware of this concept and the breadth of it, I’ve found in myself a certain resistance. It is so against the ways of the world. And the ways of man, I think… Many of us seem to be natural busybodies, looking at what others are doing and pronouncing a form of judgment on them. Our news does this, the entertainment industry, the sports world, politics… it’s everywhere. Being right seems very important, and making sure that we point out others’ wrongs is almost a duty. There are whole websites devoted to pointing out the errors of various pastors and teachings. We can tolerate maybe toning some of that down, not gossiping about others, trying not to be too critical or critical at all… but still, the idea of completely ignoring someone’s wrongdoing?  That can’t be right, can it? Shouldn’t we go and help them? Point out their error?

Mostly I think not. Yeah, there’s the verse about the brother caught in a trespass and all that, but there are also the verses about “Who are you to judge another man’s servant? To his own master he stands or falls and stand he will for God is able to make him stand.” And, “But you there, why do you judge your brother? And you again, why do you regard your brother with contempt? For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of God…so then each one of us shall give an account of himself to God.”

As believers we’re all royal priests, we all represent ourselves before God and need no one  to stand between us. Not only that, even God Himself doesn’t judge us, having passed all judgment to His son. And the Son didn’t come to judge the world but to save it and will leave the judging to His Word. So it’s really the Word that does the judging. And even if there weren’t all those verses telling us to beware stepping into the role of judging another person’s life, it’s still pretty arrogant to think we really know what’s going on with a person or in a person’s life, seeing as how we don’t have all the facts.  But it’s so easy to think we do. From just a few facts, we construct a narrative and voila: an explanation. Usually not a very complementary one to the victim.

I wrote about it, even constructed a scenario using this propensity in Return of the Guardian King. And still I want to think I really know. When more and more I think we all know very, very little about anything. Including ourselves…

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2 Responses to “Avoiding Manholes and Other Musings”


  1. 1 Kitty Varnell March 16, 2010 at 9:11 am

    You are soooooo right on re: our self-righteousness! As our PT said a few months ago “self-righteousness is a b_tch”! He also reminded us when we’re out of fellowship we’re out of the Plan of God! Very sobering!

    So thankful your son’s wedding went well, & the logistics all fell into place!

    Have a great Grace day!

  2. 2 William L. Blanton Jr. March 16, 2010 at 3:40 pm

    Dear Karen,

    Hello, I suppose . . . . is the first thing on the list. I wanted to write in reference to your posting as of late “Man Holes” and thought to try and provide something of confidence that comes from sorting through “these things” that often come ( and much to our blessing, I might ad) to challenge the one thing that our Lord has in mind; Faith. I recall having a dream once—I wish that it would be one of those reoccurring ones so that I could, hopefully, figure out how it ends, but this is not the case, so I try to recall the doctrinal principles that are involved all the same.

    I was in state Prison at the time (a particularly nasty place to find one self I might ad) and it’s still, for many reasons, very clear in my minds eyes. It was early in the morning–you know those times when we should be getting up and starting our day, but somehow don’t find the prospects all that interesting; so we go back to sleep in hermitage. Nevertheless, I recall sitting in the passenger seat of an old 50s model era of the Porsche Speedster, top down, that was brilliantly white, and I was very happy for all that it is worth while living in a dungeon. The man that was driving was very attractive, and I can still see his blue eyes to this day. He was not someone that I immediately recognized but seemed to be someone very much beloved buy me all the same. We were driving down this long country road with beautiful landscape on both sides and this white, three railed picket fence on one side with very large trees on the other. We came to an intersection and were force to turn in one direction or the other. The man driving looked at me with this wonderful face, and smiled. I exited the car and crossed the street into this field and started walking. Suddenly there was these “wholes” in the ground that were very deep, and seemed to be almost black. They were organized and systematic in there arraignment and had some space in-between them, but nevertheless the danger to fall into them seemed very real. I recall looking towards the direction that the man had gone in and seeing him a great distance off, but was still watching me as he drove in the distance. I looked at him, and he was smiling at me as if to know something . . . and he waved to me. As I made my way through those “Holes” that I’m sure that some of them I bumbled into, but somehow, I made it to this Parking structure—you know the ones that are at the shopping malls and are many layered— and inside this garage, all around were these giant drill bits that I assumed had drilled those great holes in the ground that I had seen in the distance. I will try to not drag this out too much further, but suffice it to say that I awoke very disturbed and tried to think this through the best that I could at the time; and as the years gone, by as well. I have come to realize that what was on my mind at the time was something that had been on my mind for a very long time, and it is this. “The Faith-Rest Drills” that are of more value than anything to be compared were those drills in the garage, and yes, the “holes in the ground” that I am certainly no stranger to. I love your description of the “not very obvious ladder to freedom” for if it was “obvious” faith would not be required; would it? And as I have comer to learn (the hard way in many instances) that those “holes in the ground” that were “arranged” in a definite, systematic, and thoughtful manor, as I looked in the distance to see this smiling face of a man in absolute confidence of this stumbling, stubborn, and . . . .well, faithful man; me. Yes my dear, the “Faith-Rest Drills” are often very confusing, and sometimes a tremendous “Bitch” but, I don’t believe that we would have it any other way; now would we???


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