Thursday, November 02, 2006

John Kerry & God's Grace

This past Monday former presidential candidate and Massachusetts Senator, John Kerry, addressed a group of college students and said that if they studied hard and made “an effort to be smart, you can do well. If you don’t, you get stuck in Iraq.”

Five days away from mid-term elections Republicans are scrambling to spin this story in ways that lessen their sure-to-come losses and Democrats are scrambling to spin this story to shore up their anticipated gains. It’s all resulting in way too much noise for me.

Like you I’ve seen video replays of the comments more than I want to. I do think that Kerry’s intent was to take a shot at President Bush and not the troops. I don’t know whether Kerry’s comments were a true reflection of some level of disdain he holds for the military (like a “Freudian slip”) or if it was a “botched” joke.

Here’s what I do know. What comes out of the mouth is a reflection of what is in the heart. What’s in the heart affects the way we think and speak. Jesus said, “What people say with their mouths comes from the way they think; out of the mind come evil thoughts…” (Matthew 15:18,19, NCV)

Politics and damage control aside, if John Kerry wanted to experience God in light of his comments and the national backlash he’s incurred, Kerry would want to pray a prayer similar to King David: “God, examine me and know my heart; test me and know my thoughts. See if there is any bad thing in me. Lead me on the road of everlasting life.” (Psalm 139:23-24, NCV)

If I’m critical, harsh, unkind, sarcastic, or wounding in any way with my conversation, that is an indicator of the state of my heart. If I want to have a rich experience with God I must have a clean heart. So, I pay attention to my conversation (and a lot of other things) to help monitor the state of my heart/thinking.

At the point that I see pride, condescension, lack of kindness or love, that’s God’s invitation to receive His grace to repent (have my thinking changed). Then, my confession to others about my conversation is not an attempt to spin or lessen some consequence, but to reveal the changing work of God in me.

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