I Want To Be Like You

14 06 2010

What, or who, do I need to forget and what, or who, do I need to remember? I was thinking about this when I read Proverbs 10:7 today,

“We have happy memories of the godly, but the name of a wicked person rots away.” (Proverbs 10:7 NLT).

When I read this I thought, “I get what this is saying, but sometimes the name of the wicked person rots me away.” It can be pretty tough to let “that name” and “that event” slither on down the road. Sometimes the after-effects appear wrapped around my ankles, rendering me immobile for quite some time.

I don’t think I need to expound on this; everyone knows what that is like. I think the point the writer of Proverbs is making here is that it doesn’t have to be this way. Let it go; let it pass; look ahead. Wickedness will not win the day, so why give it more than it deserves?

Perhaps that is easier said than done, but this verse highlights a much better use of my time. What Proverbs is calling me to think about this morning are the “memories of the godly.”

All along my journey there have been incredible people who have “spurred me on” intentionally or unintentionally. They aren’t people I simply “like;” these are people I have admired. So many godly people, some living and some no longer, people I have assembled in a sort of hall-of-fame.

They aren’t flawless, these hall-of-famers; in fact, some of what I admire has to do with how they have handled their flaws. I also admire, in different people, their honesty, passion, commitment, compassion; their patience, their values, their wisdom, their sacrifice, and their worship. I am inspired by their courage, perseverance, their generosity, their motivations; I am challenged by the way they enter conflict and walk through it and choose love over everything else.

I have happy memories of long visits, or a chat by the roadside; a letter in my mailbox, a hand on my shoulder. I have been propelled by “a word,” and I have stayed the course because of something I saw in someone else. I have changed my ways because of something I have read, or something that was said, or something that I saw which made me pay attention. I have longed for qualities I have seen in other godly people; I have felt shame, but in a good way, when I realize what I lack or am stubborn about changing.

My Hall of Fame isn’t packed full; but everyone in there has made me say, for one reason or another, “I want to be like you.” In fact, just one of my hall-of-famers, the Apostle Paul, invited me to do so: “join in imitating me, and keep your eyes on those who walk according to the example you have in us” (Philippians 3:17).

Godly people have made it possible for me say, “If you will, then I will.” Godly people have made me believe there is something noble to live for, to sacrifice for, to cry over, to feel pain about, to not give up on.

People have a vibe – both the wicked and the godly; but you can always pick out a godly person. They are the ones pointing to “whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable” (Philippians 4:8 NIV) .

I have a Hall of Fame in my heart for these, but I realize as I am writing this that I don’t visit there often enough.

— Teresa Klassen

Afterword: …take C.S. Lewis for example, “Love helps to make us generous and courageous, it opens our eyes not only to the beauty of the beloved but to all beauty…” that just leads me to pray something different today — I want that kind of love. Thanks.

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