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‘Will we ever truly learn?’

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By Nancy Kennedy

This morning I noticed a teeny frog hopping around my bathroom.

My first thought — I hope my husband doesn’t see it because he’ll give me that I-told-you-to-keep-the-door-shut look.

My second thought, however — You poor, dumb frog, so teeny. You’re probably just a baby and I don’t have any froggy food in my house and if you don’t get accidentally stepped on, you’ll surely die from hunger unless you find your way back outside.

Sometimes Christians talk about open doors and walking through them by faith, but I wonder if every “open door” is from God.

Like with that frog, just because the door to my house was open doesn’t mean it’s a good thing for a little frog to go through it. Of course, it might be very possible that the frog sneaked in. Maybe it saw us going in and out and the temptation was too great to resist and it schemed how to enter frog-unfriendly territory.

People do that. I do that! I find something I know I shouldn’t do and do it any way — to my detriment.

We people can be just as dumb as frogs when it comes to walking through open doors of sin. Will we ever truly learn? Just asking.

Where do the men go (and why don’t they stay)? I’ve been talking to the directors of local help agencies who say so many — too many — women come to them who have children from multiple fathers, many of them without a father living in the home. Moms and kids.

*Where are the men? Where do they go? Why don’t they stay?

I’m not saying it’s all the men’s fault, but they seem to be the ones who aren’t around and the kids left behind grow up to think living without a dad at home is normal. It’s normal, but it’s not the way God intended families to be.

Will it ever be different? Will men ever stay with their kids (and married to their moms)? Just asking.

*Have you noticed how many Christians who say, “Hate the sin, love the sinner,” often don’t act like they love the sinner at all. There’s a lot of finger pointing and tongue wagging, tsk-tsking and maybe even a little glee at the thought of sinners on their way to hell.

They “strain gnats but swallow camels” trying to rid the world of “eeevil fornicators and drunkards” but fail to see the evil in their own hearts.

I don’t want to be one of those kinds of Christians, so if you ever see me or hear of me thinking more highly of myself than I ought, will you please let me know? Just asking.

*Martin Luther said some pretty wild and crazy things about living a life of faith, such as “Love God and do whatever you please.” On the surface that sounds like he was advocating that Christians go out and swing naked from the rafters, but that’s not it. He was pointing out that love not fear is the motivator for holiness.

First, we get loved by God, then we love him back. When you know someone loves you, you want to do stuff that pleases him or her.

When we do it backwards, try to love God first so he’ll love us back, that only produces rule following, which leads to rule breaking and unholy living.

As my pastor said recently, “Legalism promotes licentiousness, but the grace of the gospel produces obedience because it changes our motivations.” It makes us secure and sets us free.

Grace is such a difficult concept to grasp. My question: If it’s such good news, why do we fight it as much as we do, falling back into rule keeping (and breaking)? Just asking.

*“Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1) and “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).

Are there any sweeter words to a Christian’s ear? Just asking.

P.S. My husband rescued the little frog and set it free in the bushes by our front door. That reminded me that even when we sin, God gives another and another and another chance — in case you’re just asking.

Nancy Kennedy is the author of “Move Over, Victoria - I Know the Real Secret,” “Girl on a Swing,” and her latest book, “Lipstick Grace.” She can be reached at 352-564-2927, Monday through Thursday, or via e-mail at nkennedy@chronicleonline.com.