Friday, August 19, 2011

Lessons From a Dusty Stack of Papers

I had to do something rather painful last night.  It is something that I am certain that I will have to do again at some point, though I will dread it.  What am I talking about? 

While doing some Fall cleaning I discovered a dusty old stack of papers that needed to be gone through.  This stack of papers was the happy home of old papers I had written in my freshman year of college.  Yesterday, I had to go through them and read some of them. 


At the time I wrote them they were really good.  They were well written treatises explaining the intricacies of the Christian faith (that I had mastered in after only being a believer for a little over a year).  Not only did I explain for all to understand the mysteries of the relationship between free-will and divine sovereignty; but I also had a paper that was certain to destroy every last vestige of popery while simultaneously sticking a dagger in the heart of Anglicanism.  My papers were awesome. 


But over the years sitting in that stale file cabinet they acquired a good amount of ignorance.  They were brilliant when written, finely edited, and without an error.  But now they held on their pages a good amount of error; like calling “the Cross” a Catholic sacrament.  Apparently error flowing forth from an arrogant pen takes a few years to ripen. 

As I read these papers I felt a strange sympathy for their author.  It was the same feeling I feel for Michael Scott when I watch the Office.  Part of you really dislikes the guy, but the other part feels sorry for him.  He seems to be so happily confident in his awesomeness, but the rest of the world views him as a complete goon. 

How could someone be so arrogant and yet so painfully unaware of his ignorance? 

And that scares me.  I’m pretty confident that right now I do not have any glaring errors like I did when I was 19.  I can look back and laugh (painfully, laugh) at my ignorant views of the Catholic church, and my weak understanding of the gospel.  I’m deeper now.  I know more.  I have a better grasp on the gospel.  Right?!?!? 

What will I feel when I look back at the stuff I wrote at age 30?  I only hope that where there is regret it’s covered by a deeper experience of grace.  I know that the only thing in what I write will be that which rightly speaks to the eternal and presents Christ as the only boast of this generation.  I want to write in such a way as not to be ashamed.  The only way I can do that is by not writing a ton of “opinions” but remaining as close as I can to the unchanging Word. 

I stand today quite thankful that grace is more amazing than a foolish and arrogant young student.  I’m thankful that those papers were locked up in the file cabinet of a shed in a small town in Indiana and not posted some place for all to read.  Not only for my own sake but also for the sake of the gospel.  I made Jesus look foolish.  I pray for a great reversal.  May I be used to magnify the greatness of Jesus and make myself look foolish. 

And it will probably be best to write humbly…

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