Friday, September 23, 2011

Doing The Most Good

There is a large sign in my town for a local business that reads, "Doing The Most Good." Why don't they do their best? Or try hard? The "most good" is good enough I guess. I find this rather odd for an advertisement. Either they are just being honest or just not trying to get my business.

If I need an attorney would I hire the one who just does his most good? Or the one I hear goes that extra mile for me? If I need a physician would I see one who does his most good? Or visit the one who refuses to give up and get down the bottom of my ailment?

Good is the root of complacency. Complacency becomes the feeling of good. Complacency is the weapon that leads to our downfall. Complacency plays no favorites. It creeps into our marriages. Into our jobs. Into our recovery. Into our health. Into anything we find good enough in our lives.

Complacency is an affliction that saps energy, dulls attitudes, and causes a drain on the brain. The first symptom is satisfaction with the way things are. The second is rejection of things that might be. "Good enough" becomes today's motto and tomorrow's standard. Complacency makes people fear the unknown, distrust the untried, and abhor the new. Like water, a complacent attitude follows the easiest course--downhill. It causes us to draw false strength.

Complacency and "good enough" after all was what sank the Titanic.

Those who are totally satisfied with their work will never reach their potential. Quite the contrary, we move backwards.

Some of my loneliness times are when I discover that my wife and I become complacent in my marriage. It happens in every marriage. That we have become caught up with the day to day routines of our lives and overwhelmed with business which is easy for me to do since I can never seem to make myself slow down.

Many times it's like the chicken and egg question for myself. Which came first, my complacency in my marriage or my feelings of depression? In any case attempts of combating my complacency is always therapeutic.

Complacency grows out of a false security that creates a lukewarm faith. Christ said it Himself, "I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other?"  (Rev. 3:15) Even more damaging with dire consequences is my complacency with Christ. "For the waywardness of the simple will kill them, and the complacency of fools will destroy them." Ouch!

Complacency can come as a weapon from within. A form of complacency that thrives in volatile situations. In volatile situations, it is a powerful form of temptation. It counts on volatile situations to make it effective. It is stronger than the temptations themselves.

What form of complacency is that? The complacency that convinces us strength comes from faith within ourselves. The form that convinces us that present situations do not equal our past performances. The form that convinces us that we are "right." The form that makes it easier to pass judgment on the moment instead of opening our minds to consider the complexity of the current situation.

Let's face it, many times we can successfully fight back when we come under attack. We know our weaknesses. We surrender to God's truth, "My grace is sufficient." That is until we get comfortable and everything is "ok." Like a stale marriage. Like auto-pilot or cruise control...moving forward yet fully capable of self destruction.

I look back at the many prayers I prayed for both my wife and ex-wife for their hearts to turn to the Lord. All the while in the midst of my own struggles. For them to feel the conviction the of the Holy Spirit. My wife and I needed healing in our marriage and she needed healing within her own heart. My ex-wife needed her eyes open .

But if I'm honest, I wasn't so concerned with their repentance as I was with wanting them to feel weight of what they were doing. The reality was that most of the time I wanted them to feel the sting like I hurt, more than I wanted them to live forgiven and free.

Complacency becomes a double-standard. It says I believe one thing but live another. Complacency is the true meaning of taking God's name in vain. We come to have no value in our relationship with Him and neglect its substance.

I eventually came to face-to-face with the double-standard of my heart. Because my struggle to genuinely pray not only for their repentance but also for their forgiveness really only means one thing...

I fail to realize and remember just how much I've been forgiven. I want to accept the work of the cross for my sins, but not my wife's or my ex's. As if my sins have been the lesser. Even though by the world's standards my would've been the worse.

That's complacency. Like church buildings full of shallow people with empty hearts that refuse to be used by God. But it's not a tendency unique to church going people or even Christ claiming people. This is inherent to being human.

It's a negative impact that leads to missing the point of the Gospel and watering it down. Once we identify ourselves by anything other than Christ, we diminish the Gospel. It's easy to stop seeing the image of God in ourselves and instead see only the outward manifestation: the focus of our attentions.

It usually takes a fall to break us out of our complacency. To shake us up and open our eyes. To remind us we are not the source of our strength nor are we self-sufficient. Everyday complacency claims the life of another victim.

Didn't Christ die for those who have nothing to offer but their messed up, broken lives?  Because I although I might put on a good show much of the time, I know how messed up I am. I need grace that is greater than all my sin.

1 comment:

  1. This is the best I have read in a long time, a very good lesson.Complacency, a false security.We have to imporove ourselves from day to day under the grace of God!



Where my inspiration comes from

A Recycled-Dad with Bipolar & Parkinson's, reflections on fathering and family life and other stuff thrown in'll love my Soap Box Rants

Blog with Integrity\\ Auhor Lupe Picazo

Why I call myself a Recycled Dad

I call myself a Recycled Dad because of the struggles with remarriage and being a step-parent and weekend dad. This is also about my life living with bipolar and how it affects me personally, my family and my job. It also reflects on the grace God has poured out on me throughout recovery from alcohol and an eating disorder. Recycled Dad is about my reflections on the wisdom God teaches daily on fatherhood and being a better husband in spite of being bipolar.

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