Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Misunderstood, a Bible Verse, and a Couple of Books: Part 2, the Bible verse

In Sunday school last week the lesson was about the part of 1 Samuel where Saul becomes king, fails, and David beomes the new king and fights Goliath (for some reason I get an ironic/perverse pleasure linking to lds.org from my blog lol).  Usually the teacher is pretty good, and the ward is not uber-conservative and fairly nonjudgmental.  But this time he skipped over my freakin' favorite verse in the Old Testament and didn't even mention it!!  1 Samuel 16:7... "But the Lord said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; ... for the Lord seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart."  This verse gives me such comfort.  God doesn't care what I look like or how I present myself to others.  He doesn't care how other people view my actions or lifestyle (ugh, how I hate that word).  He doesn't care if a person has tattoos or body piercings, or how much money they make, or how well they dress.  Heck, he probably doesn't even care that I voted for Obama.  What He cares about is what is in my heart.  He cares that I treat others with kindness and respect.  He cares that I am honest and hard-working.  He cares that I am the best father I can be.  He cares that I love Him and worship Him in my own way, and doesn't place too much importance, I sincerely believe, on the anatomy of the person I happen to love.

There is a lot more from this lesson that demands discussion. For example, does the Lord make mistakes? (1 Samuel 15:11, the Lord says "it repenteth me that I have set Saul to be king").  I'm not sure, but I do believe an omnipotent God can change his mind about things.  Saying he can't would be limiting his power. Also, which is more important, ceremony and ritual (animal sacrifice, in this instance) or obedience?  Samuel says obedience, and I tend to agree...at least as far as what is in our hearts is more important than whether we attend church every Sunday, etc.  But this can be taken way too far, and alot of time it is.  Saul got in trouble for sparing the life of a rival king and keeping some of the animals to sacrifice.  The teacher presented this as Saul did it deliberately as an act of rebellion to make himself look better, but I'm not so sure.  The Lord knows his heart.  Might he have done it out of mercy for his enemy and love for the Lord, even though it was perhaps misguided? In any case, even though he asked forgiveness, the Lord rejected him from being king and Samuel took the rival king and "hewed [him] in pieces before the Lord."  Hmmm...the God I worship and obey is a God of mercy and love, not one that is violent and unforgiving.  Which one do you believe in?

Misunderstood, a Bible Verse, and a Couple of Books

I've had a few topics for posts bouncing around in my head for awhile, but I haven't gotten around to writing them.  So I'm just going to squish them together into one post and not elaborate too much on any of them.  Okay, wait, I changed my mind...lol...I'm going to do 3 mini-posts separately.  So read all of them and comment!! :)

A couple of weeks ago I wrote to an acquaintance and asked him point-blank, "What made you blow me off after we met and not want to be friends?"  I was over the somewhat hurt feelings of extending a hand of friendship and having it rejected, and wasn't looking for an apology or pity or a passive-agressive confrontation (and I told him this).  I just wanted an honest answer, and I knew (or at least sensed) that he was the type of person that could answer this question in a constructive way.  And he did.  He gave me some very good things to think about and helped me to identify some things I could change next time I'm trying to make friends with somebody.  I appreciated his comments and wasn't hurt or angered at all by what he had to say.  BUT....his answer basically came down to "the more I read your blog the more I realize how high-maintenance you are, and I already have one high maintenance friend and can't really handle another.  And I'm not really looking for friends anyway, I'm more focused on finding a relationship."  I'm summarizing alot, and he said it in a positive, non-offensive way. But it was kind of just one more strike against blogging too much any more, especially about feelings and emotions, and double-especially when they are negative.  This acquaintance knew me through my blog and based his impressions of me completely on what I had written, rather than getting to know me better when we met in real life.  I can't really fault him for that; I suppose I would do the same thing.  The problem is, my blog is only one side of me, and lately I use my blog as a therapeutic way to get my negative emotions out.  I vent alot and seem pretty emo sometimes.  But it's not all of who I am.  I do it partly because writing is very helpful for me to get my feelings out, and also partly because I recognize that friends get tired of hearing negatives all the time...and since I don't want to burden them by venting verbally all the time, I do it pretty openly on my blog.  In real life though, I'm fairly private with my feelings and when I'm feeling down and emo I withdraw rather than burdening other people and bringing them down with me.  But most of the time I'm a very understanding person, an attentive listener, a supportive friend, and fun to be around in my own nerdy/quiet way.  So basically, what I want to say is this:  if you're a regular reader of my blog and happen to meet me in real life, don't judge me just on my blog!! Get to know me in person! I come across as a lot more emo in my blog than I do in real life, I promise!!  Yes, I can be a demanding friend, but I do it with good intentions and I'm not going to burden you with all my problems! And I'm working on being less demanding!! </rant>

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