My Way…or His Way?

Some of you may be old enough to remember singer Frank Sinatra and the song “My Way.” I wasn’t a Sinatra fan, and that’s probably the only song of his I paid any attention to. Although he didn’t write the lyrics, they clearly represent his attitude and were apparently written specifically for him.

I can’t legally quote the lyrics–you can read them here–but he lived his life the way he chose. Yes, he had a few regrets, and he had his ups and downs. He didn’t claim that his life had been trouble-free, but he was proud of doing things his way and saying what he considered genuine and “not the words of one who kneels.”

I don’t know if Mr. Sinatra was a Christian, but I take his scoffing at “the words of one who kneels” as a suggestion that he was so self-dependent he didn’t feel the need to pray. Or to depend on God.

God gave each of us strengths to do as much as we can on our own, but He also allowed each of us to have enough weaknesses to keep us humble. Christians recognize their need for God’s help. Day in and day out. Moment by moment. We know where our strength comes from.

I have a few regrets, too, and most of them have resulted from doing–or attempting to do–things “my way” rather than “God’s Way.” Regrets like those could easily result in guilt.

But they don’t have to.

God is merciful and forgiving when we turn to Him in repentance.  How thankful I am that my regrets don’t bog me down unnecessarily. I can’t change the past, but I can certainly learn from it and continually strive to do better as I attempt to follow God’s Way more closely each and every day.

Frank Sinatra may be remembered as someone who did things his way. I’d rather be remembered as someone who at least tried to live his life God’s Way.

Whose way do you live your life? Your comments are welcome.

I’ll be back again next Sunday. If you’d like to receive my posts by email, go to “Follow Blog via Email” at the upper right.

Best regards,
Roger

    

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Loving Other People

The Bible teaches us to love other people as we love ourselves. A wonderful thing to do, most of us would agree. After all, isn’t love a matter of wanting what’s best for the other person and being willing to sacrifice to make sure that happens?

But what if what’s best for the other person costs us something? Maybe even a lot. Shouldn’t we be free from having to love the other person that much if he or she is selfish and doesn’t want what’s best for us in return? How fair would that be if both parties in a relationship don’t want what’s best for the other equally?

The Bible also teaches us to love our enemies. You mean God wants us to sacrifice to provide what’s best for them when they have no concern whatsoever about our welfare? How unfair!

Hmm. Then again, look at Jesus. How he suffered that indescribably hideous death on a Roman cross to provide forgiveness for all who accept His free gift. That’s love beyond the call of duty, if you ask me.

Yet it’s what Jesus came to earth to do. And even while He was hanging on the cross, He forgave the soldiers who were crucifying Him. And they weren’t even sorry for what they were doing!

Maybe we should all take a fresh look at love. Do we love other people enough to put their needs and interests ahead of our own–and forgive them when they wrong us, even if they don’t think they’ve done anything wrong and are no way sorry for what they’ve done?

Hmm. Tall order. Humanly impossible. But the Bible says that we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us. We’ll never be able to love as perfectly as God loves, but it sounds like Christ can enable us to do a better–a more Godly–job of it.

How do you feel about your enemies? Will you let God help you love them?

And what about the people you already love? Will you let Him help you love them more perfectly–less selfishly, more sacrificially?

I’d love to hear what you think. Do you know someone you couldn’t love if your life depended on it?

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I’ll be back again on Wednesday. If you’d like to receive my posts by email, go to “Follow Blog via Email” at the upper right.

“On Aging Gracelessly” is only one of my two blogs. I post lyrics of the Christian songs I’ve written over the last fifty years on  “As I Come Singing.” Check it out HERE if you’re interested.  Free lead sheets (tune, words, and chords) are available for many of them. View the list HERE.

If you enjoy my writing, you’ll find a number of things to read on my website.  Also music to listen to and music-related videos to watch.

My newest novel, The Devil and Pastor Gus, is available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Family Christian Stores. Go HERE for links to those places.
Tentative-Front-Cover

Best regards,
Roger

A Tale of Forgiveness Denied

HandsOff

The older I get, the more I appreciate the importance of forgiveness. When we tell God we’re sorry for a particular sin and will do our best not to do it again, He mercifully forgives it and forgets it so much better than we humans can ever do.

Nonetheless, if we claim to be God’s children, we have a heavy debt: forgiving others. It’s not always easy. And forgetting can be more difficult than forgiving.

Jesus modeled perfect forgiveness when He was dying on the cross. He forgave the men who were crucifying Him. I feel confident that He could have forgiven his betrayer, Judas Iscariot, just as He forgave the disciple who denied Him, Simon Peter.

So Jesus set the example I needed to follow when someone cheated me out of thousands of dollars some years ago. It took years, and—as you can tell from my reference to it—I’ve not forgotten the incident. What you can’t see is in my heart, though. The resentment is gone, even though the memory isn’t.

So, what’s this “Tale of Forgiveness Denied” then?

Some years ago, I used to walk at lunchtime with a couple of coworkers—ladies. One day I brought my camera to work—this was before the days of cell phones with cameras—to take on our walk that day. I thought it would be nice to have a picture of my walking partners.

Wouldn’t you know one of them was absent that day. I already had the camera around my neck when I learned that, however, so I still took it when I went to walk with the other lady.

She told me not to take a picture of her. I know that some people are really skittish about having their pictures taken, but I’m also aware that some folks just say that because they’re modest about their looks and don’t really mind the picture.

I kept holding the camera up as if I were taking a picture, and she kept protesting. Finally, I snapped a picture, and she blew up at me. Only then did I realize how badly I’d misinterpreted her protests. I felt horrible.

Even though I had several other shots on that roll of film, I rewound it, took the film out, and gave it to her, along with my apologies. I hoped that would take care of the problem.

It didn’t. I lost her as a walking partner, and it was years before she was willing to talk to me again. And when she did, it was as if we’d never had any issues. I suppose that meant I was forgiven.

I’m not judging her, but I’m saying she taught me a lesson. If I fail to forgive someone who’s wronged me, I may not only be destroying a good relationship but adding to that person’s guilt. Unnecessarily.

And grudge holding isn’t doing me any good, either.

Have you failed to forgive someone in your life for a wrong he or she has committed? Just think about Jesus and the soldiers who put him to death. He forgave them, and they probably weren’t even sorry for what they’d done to Him.

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Please leave a comment if something in this post has spoken to you. I’ll be back again on Sunday. If you’d like to receive my posts by email, just go to “Follow Blog via Email” at the upper right.

“On Aging Gracelessly” isn’t my only blog. If you’d like to see “As I Come Singing,” check it out here.

Best regards,

Roger