Saturday, June 5, 2010

Give up control when things get out of control.

So I'm thinking about certain things while I'm driving back home after helping Micah move and I'm thinking about prayer and mostly about giving God control. You know letting him be the driver in my life. It occurs to me that this issue of control comes up. How do you give control to God, without laying like a lump in bed all day long? You have to actually get out and do stuff. You aren't a puppet. And God doesn't want you to be. So I'm pondering this issue.

We hear this a lot in Christian circles. "You have to give God control." I think that "control" though is not the problem. I don't think the problem is that people try to control their lives. Controlling our own life isn't all that bad. If you want to be a veterinarian, you have to be proactive and go to school, educate yourself, meet the right people, and find a job. You know, actually make the dream happen. So control isn't really a problem.

I think generally speaking people should still be allowed to have some control over their lives but there can still be a problem. God sometimes does need to step in from time to time to remind us, to keep us on His path. So I think the problem is GIVING UP control when things get OUT OF control. We don't want to give up control when it seems that God takes the most control, when things start to go awry.

What I think is really being said in this Christian advice is that people are too married or attached to a certain outcome or a particular plan. I suffer from this A LOT. Because I like to plan things. I like to see things work a certain way. I'm a designer at heart. I want things to work right. Things working according to their designed intent goes straight to my heart. The stinking iPhone's battery is SUPPOSED to last all day long! Why do these programs crash so much? That person shouldn't be in the right lane. That person shouldn't be in the left lane. So I find it extremely difficult to let things go when things aren't happening according to "what's right."

When this happens I feel things are out of control, and my reaction is to try to seize control. So I think THIS goes directly in line with what a lot of Christian advisers say. I think what they are really saying is go with the flow when things start to veer off course. When things don't go according to plan... to YOUR plan, maybe thing aren't supposed to go according to your plan. Maybe God's plan is better and you need to just accept it. When you react, rather than try to steer everything back towards your plan, react towards the new direction.

It's like you are on a rafting trip and approaching a fork in the river. You want to go right but the current is pulling you left. And you fight it and try to force yourself to go right when the river wants you to go left. If you would just accept the left fork, maybe it's a better trip. God is the current. The problem isn't the control. You are still in the raft paddling and steering. The problem is that you aren't letting go when you have to.

When I have a plan that isn't working, I pray to God. I say things like, "God why isn't this working? What am I doing wrong? What is getting in the way? What is going wrong? Why can't I do this? Why can't I have this one thing?" All of those are bound up by... me. They are a reaction to my plan. Well, what about God's plan?

So I've decided to try to think about this when things start to go awry. Make little adjustments to see if they "take." But if they don't, then accept the new direction. If I want to plan a date with a girl and traffic is preventing me from meeting her on time, don't fight it. Call her calmly. Let her know I'm running late. React. Don't try to force things by rushing through rush hour traffic and risk dying. Accept the path God put me on. Maybe we won't see the movie. Maybe something better will come up. Whatever happens, I'm sure God's plan for the date is better than mine.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Why even think about evil?

If you've been following my blog, you know that I like to think about good and evil. Especially evil. I question evil. What it means. Does it exist?

But what does it matter? This question in my mind? Is it all semantic? Does it matter that the guy who abuses his wife is not technically evil? What use is it to say that Hitler was just mentally derranged instead of evil? He still did evil acts. Isn't that what matters? Don't they just need to stop doing evil things? Who cares if someone is evil or just crazy? They did evil! Right? Is my thinking about all of this just mental masturbation? Unproductive thought?

Then I get a grip and remember what prompts these thoughts of mine to surface. The reason I concern myself with these issues is because other people don't. People don't make movies about the bad guy. Not trying to understand him anyway. It seems aside from the law enforcement and psychiatric communities no on wants to understand the evil mind. But I know that there is a PERSON inside that "evil" body. Someone who loves and fears and dreams and wants good! Yes! Even so called evil people want to do good! They may have a twisted idea of what good is. But they still want to do good. Everyone on Earth thinks it's good to do good. This I truly believe. (And it's something I feel is proof that God exists. C.S. Lewis gave me the idea.)

All of these thoughts and ponderings of the evil mind I do because when we start to think of these people as PEOPLE and stop thinking of them as demons, maybe we'll be able to, you know, help them and reduce the number of evil people in the world. Evil people are evil for a reason. Maybe it can be controlled, or handled differently, or the unstable person can be reached before he becomes maniacal dictator bent on genocide. I don't know. The point is we shouldn't just wash our hands of someone and resign them to hell just because they do evil. They are people too. Sure, they need to be punished. No doubt about that. But they are victims too. Hitler was a victim. Yes he was. His life didn't end well, did it? Do you think if he was sane he would have done everything he did? No. He was a deranged drug addict.

I know this is a hard pill to swallow. I know the real victims deserve justice. But don't confuse revenge for justice.

Would it not be fruitful to get into the mind of evil people and see what makes them tick? I don't think enough people consider the mind of bad people. They are "just bad" and need to "just stop being bad," right? But it's not that easy. You can't just "stop being bad" any more than you can just "stop being male." We are who we are and we do what we do for a reason and the more we study those reasons the better understanding we can have about these people. Maybe we can actually stop the next Hitler.

THAT is why it's important to consider the PERSON contained within the evil body. And THAT is why I think about evil. One day I would like to write a book taken from the perspective of an evil person. I wonder if I could do it. I'm not evil enough. I hope I'm not. Is my imagination good enough to compensate? Actually I really don't want to get into the mind of another Hitler. I really would like to get into the mind of a jerk though. What makes a jerk tick? That might be an interesting story to ponder.