Wednesday, July 5, 2017


I have written here recently about Reginald-the-Lamb's ornery refusal to behave when my daughter works with him each day. I wrote Saturday about Reginald's star performance in the ring: you could not have found a better-behaved lamb!

Guess what? Sunday, back at home, Reginald popped right back into his familiar ornery belligerence. I was shocked. After his fabulous performance on Saturday, I thought Reginald had moved past such naughtiness. I expected him to behave nicely-ever-after. Boy, was I wrong!

I know people like Reginald - people who speak and behave one way in a particular setting, then speak and act a totally different way in the "show ring" church or among peers or in front of coworkers.

Then, there are those people who have a "self" inside their heads and another "self" that engages with the world in which they live. This duality is something I struggle with myself - I know my intentions; never mind what my actual actions say about me!

Why am I writing today about these Many Me-s (both my own, and those of others with whom I relate)?

First, because I do not want my good intentions - the Me inside my head - to anesthetize me to the self-deception I practice when I consistently fail to act on those good intentions. My actions testify to what I truly believe. My actions expose who I am, as opposed to who I think I am. Sadly, the ideal me living inside my head often proves to be a fantasy, an illusion.

I once heard a theologian describe shalom as a kind of integrity: things are what they appear to be. No deception, no duplicity, no confusion. On an individual level, shalom-ness is integrity of person - it is being the same inside and out, in our thoughts and in our practice, in private and in public.

I want my desiring and my doing to demonstrate that kind of personal integrity. Oh, how I long for shalom!

Second, I am writing because - there really are Reginalds in the world. Reginald A, a model lamb in the show ring - is the very same lamb as - Reginald B, who will knock you down and trample you for sport.

I have learned that the Susie I know and the Susie you know may be two completely different people. And when you are crying because Susie broke your heart, I do not need to tell you how wonderful Susie is...I do not need to explain to you how you've got Susie figured out all wrong...I do not need to tell you, "Well, if you would just do [fill in the blank], Susie would be a better friend."

Instead, I need to listen, to grieve with you, and to pray that God will help us all to love more like Christ.

But he looks so sweet and cuddly!

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