Remembering Your Face

The title of the blog today may seem kind of strange, but I think you will understand why it is relevant to the content.  You see, James 1:22-25 is what we read and talked about last night at service, and it contains a very interesting simile (I’m pretty sure it is a simile because it uses the word “like”).  James writes that the man who listens to the Word of GOD but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in the mirror and immediately forgets what he looks like.  What an interesting way to explain that phenomenon.

Before I continue, let me give you a quick aside about myself here in Haiti.  In Haiti, I am not very funny.  Now, if you know me personally, you know in America that I am slightly below moderately funny, but every once in a while I can do alright.  In Haiti, no matter how hard I try (and I try really really hard), I cannot figure out how to be funny here.  In fact, the hardest laugh I have ever gotten out of anyone is when we were posing for a group picture one time and I pretended like the kids’ faces broke my camera.  Everyone laughed really hard at that, but nobody really laughs at my normal attempts at humor.

Ok, back to the blog.  Last night, when began to explain what the passage meant, I told all of our older boys that they should really try to forget what they look like after seeing themselves in the mirror and Herbison actually laughed.  I think he was the only one that got the joke to start with, but then the other boys laughed as well and I realized that they were really engaged in what we were discussing.  On top of that, last night’s study is a vital thing to understand and may be one of the biggest weaknesses I have seen at the different churches I have been a part of here.  There is a huge focus on being at church as often as possible (sometimes 5 days per week even), there is a huge focus on singing, almost every school has their students memorize Bible verses in class, and preaching and Bible Study is a big part of almost every service.  So I oftentimes wonder, in an extremely “Christian-based culture” where is the life-change?  I asked the kids last night if they have ever noticed these things:

  • That someone goes to church and learns not to lie and then tells a lie 5 minutes later.
  • A man understands that the Bible teaches sex is reserved for the marriage relationship but he has 15 kids with 7 different women.
  • Everyone knows that the Bible says do not steal, but we had someone try to steal our suitcases out of the back of our truck.
  • That all of our kids understand that GOD calls them to respect those in authority over them and they struggle with that respect every single day. 

This is not a Haitian phenomenon.  Did you know the divorce rate among Christians in America is almost the exact same as those outside of the church.  Protestant Christians give about 2.5% of their income to the local church and after serving in churches for 15 years that even seems high.  

What is it about us that makes us forget so easily?

Even tonight (I am typing this on Monday night to send it out on Tuesday) I have spent time in the Word and chances are I will sin again tonight before my head touches the pillow.  But listen to verse 25 in James 1:

But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it — he will be blessed in what he does.

We have “The Perfect Law that Gives Freedom” literally at our fingertips, and what do we do with it?  There is this freedom that Jesus offers us that is different than anything else in the world.  The freedom that we crave always has certain negative aspects to it.  The open road always brings fatigue, heading out on vacation always brings a little anxiety, quitting our job leads to worrying about what we will do next, graduating from school is just a stepping stone to less freedom than we had before, and even the freedom that we enjoy in America comes with huge loss and huge responsibility.  On the other hand, the freedom that comes from knowing Jesus comes with no strings.  It allows us to live in joy, peace, and ultimately love.  

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