Posted by: jiminmontana | May 18, 2010

Virtue ~ Life

Just weeks ago in our little community, five (5) young people crashed at high speed and all died.  Teenagers.  Alcohol, and drugs, and foolishness were involved.   It makes the Darwin Awards come to my mind.  Not everybody makes it.  (I wish that the Darwin Awards were not in my consciousness — like Madonna, or Albert Fish, or Mengele.  But how can we purge our minds?)

Five kids broke the rules together and the rules broke all of them together.  While it is true, it is considered harsh to mention that they paid for their sins by dying horribly.  Closed caskets are harsh.  Life is harsh.   We have ways of making life harsher than it needs to be.   We break the laws of physics, the laws of the State, the laws of parents, the laws of God.  We break our own self-made rules that we KNOW ought not be broken.  And we all die.  Sometimes softly, sometimes as jelly — the Rules never die. 

Regina Spektor’s 2009 song, “Laughing with”, nails it.  DOWNLOAD: http://www.google.com/url?url=http://s0.ilike.com/play%23Regina%2BSpektor:Laughing%2BWith:133429111:s47845837.12559494.2402647.0.2.283%252Cstd_f6d7c5b2d68d4f5cb4f0b0677148b4a7&rct=j&ei=VLL-S6urCY3iNd_6sT8&sa=X&oi=music_play_track&resnum=1&ct=result&cd=2&ved=0CBMQ0wQoADAA&q=regina+spektor+laughing+with&usg=AFQjCNFZGbRyzEzLQudZHfSp95KHqAlooQ  Laughing With, 2009, Far

  She does great  -up to the very last line – dealing with the reality of pain in life and its root cause.  Buy the Far album.  And pray that Regina comes to faith in Messiah, the Passover Lamb of Israel, the only Son whose Life was not spared. 

“Laughing With”

No one laughs at God in a hospital
No one laughs at God in a war
No one’s laughing at God
When they’re starving or freezing or so very poor

No one laughs at God
When the doctor calls after some routine tests
No one’s laughing at God
When it’s gotten real late
And their kid’s not back from that party yet

No one laughs at God
When their airplane start to uncontrollably shake
No one’s laughing at God
When they see the one they love, hand in hand with someone else
And they hope that they’re mistaken

No one laughs at God
When the cops knock on their door
And they say we got some bad news, sir
No one’s laughing at God
When there’s a famine or fire or flood

But God can be funny
At a cocktail party when listening to a good God-themed joke, or
Or when the crazies say He hates us
And they get so red in the head you think they’re ‘bout to choke
God can be funny,
When told he’ll give you money if you just pray the right way
And when presented like a genie who does magic like Houdini
Or grants wishes like Jiminy Cricket and Santa Claus
God can be so hilarious
Ha ha
Ha ha

No one laughs at God in a hospital
No one laughs at God in a war
No one’s laughing at God
When they’ve lost all they’ve got
And they don’t know what for

No one laughs at God on the day they realize
That the last sight they’ll ever see is a pair of hateful eyes
No one’s laughing at God when they’re saying their goodbyes.
But God can be funny
At a cocktail party when listening to a good God-themed joke, or
Or when the crazies say He hates us
And they get so red in the head you think they’re ‘bout to choke
God can be funny,
When told he’ll give you money if you’ll just pray the right way
And when presented like a genie who does magic like Houdini
Or grants wishes like Jiminy Cricket and Santa Claus
God can be so hilarious

No one laughs at God in a hospital
No one laughs at God in a war
No one laughs at God in a hospital
No one laughs at God in a war
No one laughing at God in hospital
No one’s laughing at God in a war
No one’s laughing at God when they’re starving or freezing or so very poor

No one’s laughing at God
No one’s laughing at God
No one’s laughing at God
We’re all laughing with God

By preferring to live according to Virtue, a person chooses a longer, happier life.  No, it is not as exciting as is the life of the foolish person.  Robbing a bank must be exciting.  Cheating on your spouse must be exciting.  Crashing into an embankment and bursting your organs must be exciting.   For some people, that will be the greatest thrill of life. 

The kids who died in the crash left friends and family members who have to deal with the repercussions of ugly funerals.  I know some of those and am watching them cope.  The hand of time writes and cannot erase.  The paths fork as choices are made.  One person is making right choices and one is making poor choices.  One shows no evidence of having learned anything from the tragedy of the multiple deaths, but is — for now — moving into rebelliousness in a contagious way, including others.  Petty crimes have been committed and a general attitude of rebellion and contempt can be inferred.  The hopeful rebel thinks: “I am special: it won’t happen to me.”  The hardened rebel thinks:  “It’s inevitable: let’s play until the time runs out.” 

The rebel hates the “good kid” in one degree or another and that disdain is shared within the clique.  Guilt and envy overshadow the admiration.  The rebels look at the virtuous person and each is forced to make comparisons.  The virtuous life – just by existing – condemns the rebel.  If the guilt were specific, that would be bad enough: the “good kid” avoids boys because she knows that she is not quite ready to go there yet while the rebellious girl is chasing the excitement of “being in love” when she and everyone know that this thrill is premature and laden with perils.  That is the specific, and it’s real.  But the difference that matters is the generalized guilt of rebellion “at large” in the soul.  The rebel has not made the firm decision to “choose the good”.   The specific acts of “evil” are easily forgiven if the person has generally chosen the good — yet has made a slip. 

The rebel has envy for the virtuous person because any thinking rebel KNOWS that the day of payment is going to be rough for him or her.  The payment will be made:  principle and interest.  The Devil gives us the reward UP FRONT and requires the payment LATER, with usury.  At first, that path is more exciting, but it ends in misery.  The Lord requires the effort/obedience first and the remuneration comes later.  That is less exciting at first, but it ends with lasting riches.  Broken bones and closed caskets are usually avoided.  On the same Day, the rebel pays and the virtuous is paid.

This is nothing new, but it needs to be restated every so often. 

I have worked in two hospitals:  ER and ICU.  There is very little laughter at all in those places.  There is hate — often associated with pain.  People pop out of this realm with h8 toward God because “life stinks”.  But it’s you and me who makes life stink.  A glance out the window tells me that God loves you and me — even though we make life stink at times.  If you’re popping out today and don’t have the wisdom to be angry with yourself for deserving it, then you can h8 me.  H8 anybody but Him, the only One who does not deserve your angst.  Or is He supposed to make you last forever, despite all the tricks you’ve played? 

What is important – and rarely stated – is what the virtuous kid has to learn.  Two things.  1) everybody pays:  you, the virtuous, are gonna pay for that virtue in a hundred small ways and sometimes a few big ways.  Little snickers at your virginity (or decision to adopt a chaste condition henceforth) will follow you in the halls.  Ugly expressions will be made when you enter a room, primarily because your existence causes an awareness of guilt and a premonition of suffering to come.  In some places, your virtue can get you killed just as dead as Abel.  Everybody pays.  The virtuous person pays in advance (as is appropriate) in every way.  2) It is also virtuous to condescend.  The World absolutely detests the word, but the Lord proved that Virtue must Condescend if it is to Redeem the rebel.  Virtue that refuses to act with Grace and condescend to bless those who “don’t measure up” is not Virtue.  Messiah KNEW that He was condescending to a bunch of slackers — and yet He was never smug about it.  Be virtuous, but never smug.  Smug is death: Antithetical to Virtue.  Know that it is the Will of the Lord that He has protected your heart from rebelliousness; it is not you who has done it alone.  He has made a hedge around you that you might be fit for something significant.  So yield moreso to the inspiration of the Holy Spirit (in Scripture and in prayer) AND let His Virtue replace your own by walking in His Power.  It’s like riding a wave.  Then you will be truly Hated!  Then you will be truly Blessed.  And the Lord will be pleased with you, able to entrust to you the true Riches that very few are able to receive and use correctly.

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