When you deaden the pain, you deaden the laughter.
APRIL 20, 2023
When you deaden the pain, you deaden the laughter. Let’s talk about it, on Key Life.
Key Life is all about God’s radical grace. Grace that has dirt under its fingernails and laugh lines on its face. If you want the Bible to be a book of rules, you may want to stop listening now, but if you’re hungry for the truth, that’ll make you free. Welcome to Key Life.
Thank you Matthew. If you’ve been listening, we’re looking at some of the firewalls. I was using a computer, in the way John Myers fixed mine, as a metaphor for how we should deal with God. We need to not try to fix what we don’t know, what’s that old line? Get away from that wheelbarrow, you know you don’t know nothing about heavy machinery. I don’t know anything about computers and John Myers fixes mine by taking over my computer and that’s the way we should be with God. And I was talking about firewalls. One of them is denial, avoidance, and there are others, but let me to give you another one. Another firewall is to deaden the pain. As I worked on this book, I got an e-mail from a longtime friend, Eddie Waxer. He’s involved with world sports, with things like kids games, literally changing the world. And Eddie asked me to pray for a Caribbean sports conference, they called it Keep Running. I prayed for that conference, but thought that the conference title would be a great name for a manual on avoidance. Keep running, don’t look back. To continue with the computer metaphor, if the computer doesn’t work and you can get drunk by consuming enough booze, you don’t have to know or care that it doesn’t work. There are lots of reasons we sin and we wouldn’t sin if we didn’t like it, but aside from that, sin is often a way we escape the dark of lament. The Ten Commandments are God’s rules to make us unhappy. No, just the opposite, they are the roads we walk to make the best out of a fallen world condition. Naming minds in the minefield, that’s what the law is. They are also a list of the things we do to build firewalls in our lives, greed, sex, rebellion, stealing, killing, drugs, booze, sex, become our diversions whereby we think we can escape the meaninglessness and the darkness of our lives. We don’t lament because we’re doing everything we can do to avoid that, which would cause us to lament. I could go on and on, but you get the idea. I move the previous question and it is this, what do you do? And I have the same answer, nothing. That doesn’t sound very helpful, does it? But when you realize that you can do nothing, God helps you do nothing. Guide your lament over the fact that you can do nothing and then laughs with you, when you finish the lament and recognize that he is God and he gives unexpected release and joy to Christians who, here it comes, do nothing. It’s called freedom and it’s radical freedom. There’s one more to doing nothing, one more thing that I wrote about in the book, and I’m going to talk about it a little bit now and then, next week, we’ll do a lot more on the subject. It’s called The Sound of Silence. In Psalm 46:10 God says.
translation, do nothing, sit down, quit talking
Be still, and know that I am God.
A number of years ago I wrote a book, I titled it Three Free Sins. If I had it to do over again, I’d retitle it. I’ve been accused by people who read the title but were too lazy or cheap to read the book that I was encouraging sin, actually all the sinners I know don’t need encouragement to sin, they were doing fine long before I came along. I was and I was in that book telling people how God makes his people better. And by the way, I was at a book signing and a man bought five copies. Are you going to give them away? I asked him. He replied that he just needed free sins. With five books, I get 15, and when I get some more money, I’m going to buy more copies. I think he was joking, but I’m not quite sure. At any rate, the. main premise of that book was that the reason we’re so bad is that we’re trying so hard to be good. I think I’ve told you where that came from. We were doing a talk show at the time, and as kind of a joke, I said, if you call on a landline, I’ll give you three free sins. And if you call on your cell phone, I’ll give you six free sins. And a woman called in the middle of the show and said, Steve, I like this show, but I don’t like that free sin thing that’s blasphemous. And I said, all right, I’ll give you seven, but that’s it. And she, and she went ballistic and our producer got on the air and said, ma’am, it’s a joke, lighten up. Well, it was kind of a joke to teach something very important, as was that book. On our website, we had a statement that said, everything on this website is free, but if you’re not a Christian, you have to pay for your own sins. And then we also on the website, put a Playboy bunny. And if you click that bunny you were taken to in those days, Campus Crusade for Christ. But Jesus made me take it down. I said, why it’s funny. And he said, it is funny, but it’s manipulative and you can’t do that sort of thing. So, so I, so I took it down. And so, I decided when I was writing the book, I would go into some of those themes and called it Three Free Sins. And, that was not what the book was about. The book was about how God can make you into the person you already wanted to be. And one of the main, maybe the main premise of that book was the reason we’re so bad is that we’re trying so hard to be so good. If you want a short version, that’s the main premise of what I’m saying right now. We’re working so hard at controlling everything that it becomes the reason we’re hardly ever free. The control takes a lot of surprising forms. For instance, you can find at a church where there is very little silence at work, where there’s even less, there’s self-talk in the effort to avoid fear and pain, the anger that it’s there, and kicking against the goads of our denial. The Psalmist often says, that’s noise, maybe necessary noise. And after that, we are told clearly.
Be still, be quiet, be silent, and know that I am God.
My wife Anna would, just a great mother and still our daughters spend hours talking to her and they’re grown and married and living their own lives. And our grandchildren, they’re all daughters. I have two daughters and three granddaughters cause God only sends girls, boys to guys that need help. At any rate, she would visit our granddaughters and when they were little, and she’d left, they would stand on the porch, wave goodbye and cry and ask her to come back. Right now. I have seen her on a hundred occasions when the girls and girls have a tendency and boys too to get caught up in something and, and run around and get hurt and do things. And she would say, shhhhhhhh, girls look at me. And all of a sudden it began to settle down. And they would look at their mother or their grandmother and get quiet and then she would say, be still, be still. God does that too. You know, he, in the midst of our pain, in the midst of the hard places of our lives, in the midst of the darkness, he says, as does Anna. Shhhhhhhhhh, be still, look at me, that’s doing nothing. And it’s the doing nothing that will absolutely change your life and give you the freedom to laugh and lament. You think about that. Amen.
Thank you Steve. And with that, we wrap up another rewarding week of teaching. Remember, if you missed any episodes, stop by keylife.org where you can listen to those, for free. That’s also where you can check out all our other radio shows, podcasts, articles, and sermon videos. And be sure to tune in tomorrow for Friday Q&A when Steve and Pete will tackle questions, including this one. If I’m a Christian, can I fight in a war? Mmmm. It’s a good question, tune in for that one. Well, I don’t know about you, but if there’s something that’s valuable but quickly disappearing, well then you have my attention. And that’s exactly the situation laid out by authors Richard Foster and Brenda Quinn. In their new book, they argue that humility may well be the most important virtue of our time, and yet it’s vanishing. We spoke with them about that on a recent episode of Steve Brown Etc. and I think that you will find that conversation to be absolutely riveting. And we’ll send that to you on a CD, for free. Just call us at 1-800-KEY-LIFE that’s 1-800-539-5433. You can also e-mail [email protected] to ask for that CD. Or to mail your request, go to keylife.org/contact to find our mailing addresses. Just ask for the free CD featuring Richard Foster. Finally, would you prayerfully consider partnering in the work of Key Life through your giving? You can charge a gift on your credit card or include a gift in your envelope. Or join the growing number of folks who give safely and securely by text. Just pick up your phone and text Key Life to 28950 and then follow the instructions. Key Life is a member of ECFA in the States and CCCC in Canada. And as always, we are a listener supported production of Key Life Network.