Monday, September 25, 2006
Recent readings and musings...
"Too many of us are saying to ourselves, "When I've done it, when I've perfected myself, when I've made myself completely righteous, then I'll be worthy of the Atonement. Then Christ can do his work and exalt me." But this will never happen, for it puts the cart before the horse. It's like saying, "When my tumor is gone, then I'll call the doctor. I'll be ready for him then." This is not how things are designed to work either in medicine or in the gospel. "They that be whole need not a physician, but they that are sick." (Matt 9:12)
I feel very strongly that in most cases the belief that we must save ourselves by our own good works is not merely misinformed, it is evil. It is evil in the first place because it places an impossible burden on people - the burden of being perfect. Eventually they will dispair and give up. Second, it is evil because it keeps people from admitting their need of a savior and accepting the merits and mercy of the Holy Messiah. It keeps them from understanding Jesus Christ in his role as Savior. Finally, it is evil because some people are simply too arrogant to admit their own imperfection. They refuse to think of themselves as sinners or to admit there is anything they can't do on their own. Such hearts will not break - they are too proud. These individuals think of Christ and his atonement merely as handy tools to be used in saving themselves, just as a carpenter would use a hammer and nails to build a house. The emphasis, and the credit, is on themselves as do-it-yourself saviors rather than on Christ. No carpenter thanks his hammer."
--Stephen E. Robinson "Believing Christ"
I enjoy Mr. Robinson's writings. It's been a while since I've read them, and I'm enjoying them anew...
I feel recently that I have been trying to work out my "situation" of dealing with being gay by myself - working out my salvation as a do-it-yourself savior. I have fallen in the trap of "I can't approach anyone, particularly the Lord, about this 'gay thing' until I get a handle on it and can feel 'worthy enough'. I recently received (isn't that a nice and warm phrase for a church position) this leadership stake calling position and I continue to fall in this trap of working it out to be "worthy enough" and I go right back into the thought of not being good enough because I have this "issue"...
Instead, I should be allowing myself to be available to serve, to give, to love, to reach out, to help because I DO HAVE THIS ISSUE!!!! Am I not "worthy enough" to do that? Am I such "damaged goods" as to be of no value to others until I fix myself up? When am I going to learn that I am who I am and I'm a pretty damn good person and I don't need FIXING in the conventional sense of fitting-into-the-system! I'm sensitive and caring and willing to reach out and help. Doesn't HE want a willing servant? Aren't we all "damaged goods"? Are we ever "worthy enough?" Am I ever going to be "perfect enough"?
Of course not!
I love being the gay person that I am as it has helped to mold who and what I am! So what if my fantasies and secret attractions and desires to kiss another man may shock and scandalize the Stake and Ward and my fellow quorum brothren! Am I still not the same Beck that I've always been? Do I still not have value even as damaged, shocking, and imperfect me?
Isn't the atonement still valid for me? I am sick and need THE physician in my life because I am sick! I need HIM to help me to love myself, to be humble, and to be broken-hearted enough to NEED HIM. I need to do all that I CAN do... I don't need to do EVERYTHING. He'll pick up the slack.
Some have mused that the Prophet isn't getting specific enough about our situation as gay married Mormons. To hell with the Prophet! I'm not going to wait for him to figure it out. I'm going to live my life the best way I can and in the way I see fit as a gay married Mormon!
I'm going to stop resisting GRACE!
So having said that -- then why is it so hard to let HIM try to help?