But be doers of the word, and not merely hearers who deceive themselves. James
I love the Olympics! The chance to see world class athletes from around the
world in competition is simply amazing. Even with uneven judging and the
undercurrents of international politics, there is something wonderful about the
competition that is above all of that – most of the time. I watched, for example,
the Russian and Georgian athletes smile, speak to one another and then embrace.
And I thought that the rhetoric of the Olympics was more than talk… more than
an ideal. Those two athletes were doers of that word or ideal.
And I have a new hero: Shawn Johnson. What a remarkable combination of
athleticism, focus and … smile! More than that, there is a soul that has refused to
be caught up in the addiction to success that can so easily undermine the very
principles of competition that form the foundation for the Games.
I am of the old school. Athletics are not ends in themselves. They are
opportunities to develop healthy bodies and strong character. The tragedy is that
many of our best competitors reveal a shallowness of heart and a self-indulgence
that betrays the greater good. Not Shawn Johnson.
St. James affirms that what we believe is ultimately what we live. The
tragedy of those who only “hear” is that we ultimately deceive ourselves. When
what we believe is in words only, then how we live has little to do with it. The
worst of this is not what others may think about us. It is that we have a false
picture of ourselves and we miss the power and joy of living what we say we
believe. This is never a matter of perfection. It is a matter of learning from our
mistakes and growing from them. Lives that are open to learning from mistakes
are lives that are self-reflective. It is the self-reflection that opens us to discover
the distance between what we believe and how we live. And with that discovery
comes the pleasure of becoming more at ease with oneself. And that’s a goal
worth our attention.
Lord Jesus, help me live what I believe today. Amen
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