6-Week Series: Against All Odds

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When I was in college, I worked as a youth director at a little church out in the country about an hour’s drive away. There were two families in that congregation that didn’t get along. When they came to worship, they would take up their positions on opposite sides of the room and glare at each other with contempt. When it was time to leave, they would do everything in their power to avoid contact with one another. They had long since given up speaking to each other.

Once, I asked the pastor about it, and he said he had looked into it. But everybody he asked told him the same thing. They didn’t know why these two families didn’t get along. When he asked what started the whole thing, nobody could recall. So, he went to the heads of the two families and asked: "What happened to create such division between you?" Guess what? They couldn’t remember either!

Supposedly, their mutual resentment had once served them well, but now they were serving it: feeding a debilitating enmity toward one another even though no one could give a single good reason for doing so! I thought to myself: "Here are people who make it a point to go to church every Sunday. They form their lips around words of praise, they submit their ears to hearing the gospel of reconciliation, and presumably they offer their prayers to the One who is called the Prince of Peace. Yet none of it makes any difference. They're the same people when they leave as they were before they came." I was astounded.

Then, I began to look into my own heart. And I had to admit that I, too, was resistant to the change that Christ seeks to work within me. Like anyone else, I can exempt myself from the claim of the Spirit on my life. Like anyone else, I can excuse myself from submitting to the transformation offered in the gospel. Like anyone else, I can rationalize away the the truth to which I am called not only to assent but to embody as well.

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