I have been out and about today, and wasn’t able to enter the discussion in “A Question Put Forth” and “More Questions Put Forth” threads. Honestly my first reaction to someone calling this a “hate” site is to laugh at the irony atÂ first, but I am forced to some introspection regardless of the source the accusation is coming from. Personally, I have seen many close friends and family members hurt by Christians, so it is very easy for me to fall into cynicism. Fortunately, though, I have too much of the real miracle-working power of God to have any excuse for being cynical.
In The Return of the Prodigal Son, Henri Nouwen shares his insights on the familiar parable.Â One part that stuck put out to me was toward the end of the book where he talks about the Father’s capacity for joy.Â The Father literally throws a party for the son that earlier left and basically told him that he wished him dead.Â Yet the Father is so eager to forgive the son, that He runs toward him at the first sight of him walking home.Â This is not the act of a cynical God.Â Nouwen decribes this quality like this:
For me it is amazing to experience daily the radical difference between cynicism and joy. Cynics seek darkness wherever they go. They point always to approaching dangers, impure motives, and hidden schemes. They call trust naive, care romantic, and forgiveness sentimental. They sneer at enthusiasm, ridicule spiritual fervor, and despise charismatic behavior. They consider themselves realists who see reality for what it truly is and who are not deceived by â€œescapist emotions.â€ But in belittling Godâ€™s joy, their darkness only calls forth more darkness.
People who have come to know the joy of God do not deny the darkness, but they choose not to live in it. They claim that the light that shines in the darkness can be trusted more than the darkness itself and that a little bit of light can dispel a lot of darkness. They point each other to flashes of light here and there, and remind each other that they reveal the hidden but real presence of God. They discover that there are people who heal each otherâ€™s wounds, forgive each otherâ€™s offenses, share their possessions, foster the spirit of community, celebrate the gifts they have received, and live in constant anticipation of the full manifestation of Godâ€™s glory.
Every moment of each day I have the chance to choose between cynicism and joy. Every thought I have can be cynical or joyful. Every word I speak can be cynical or joyful. Every action can be cynical or joyful. Increasingly I am aware of all these possible choices, and increasingly I discover that every choice for joy in turn reveals more joy and offers more reason to make life a true celebration in the house of the Father.
It is my prayer that God would openÂ our eyes to His work in the world.Â I pray that the joy thatÂ causes a Father to run to a sinful son would become the joy that we live in.