I’ve already failed on my most common New Year’s Resolution: to be more disciplined. I mean, it’s January 19 and I’m just now rolling around to really thinking about New Year’s Resolutions…talk about lack of discipline.
Perhaps a good thing, as I’m once again realizing that this resolution simply does not engage me emotionally; it doesn’t engage “my emotional elephant” in the language of Dan & Chip Heath in their recent best-seller Switch.
One of our interns, Kevin Petermeyer, gave a great talk at the Inn (1/17/12 on the audio player) with a simple message reminding us that we are not intended to earn God’s love as much as we are intended to respond to the reality of God’s love for us. Love engages (and challenges) me a lot more than discipline.
So I find myself with two resolutions as I springboard from Kev’s reflections on the Good Samaritan. First, quite simply, my resolution is to LOVE MORE. This is one of the foundational tasks of Christian discipleship, “Love God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength and love your neighbor as your love yourself.” (Mark 12) My second resolution, and no doubt related, is to give people the benefit of the doubt. When I think of Jesus – fully God and fully human – and his interaction with the Samaritan woman, Jesus responds out of common humanity. His response gets past ethnic, gender and religious differences. In short, Jesus gives her the benefit of the doubt as he speaks the truth to her. It is out of that human compassion that Jesus demonstrates love and the Samaritan woman’s whole village discovers a loving God. In 2012, I want to do likewise. I want to give my neighbors, friends, my kids, my wife, and most notably, my enemies and the people that annoy me the benefit of the doubt in the same way.
So, here I am saying, quite simply, I want to love more in 2012 knowing that I need to believe more that God’s love for me, and those I want to give the benefit of the doubt to, is in fact, real.
Ryan Church, UMin Director