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Blog: Tom Job

A Note From Tom: August 31st, 2012

CCC Oak Ridge

Hey everyone!

Hope you're having an awesome day and I hope it's sunny in your heart, because I'm really sorry, but it's supposed to be a rainy Labor Day weekend!…

Wait a sec. I think I need to rephrase that.

I was reading back over those first lines and somehow I said "I'm really sorry" and "it's supposed to be a rainy weekend".

Wow! That was a slip-up! I mean, it's too bad in some ways that the weather won't be great, but I'm not sorry about it! When you tell someone you're sorry for something, you're taking the blame and assuming responsibility for a situation and for things that went wrong with it. You're saying "It's my fault. I'm sorry."

So, I'm NOT sorry that the weather may be yucky in the days ahead!
It was not my decision!
I'm not responsible for it!
It's not my fault! And so…
I'm NOT sorry!

Y'know, it's a super important life skill to know how to apologize, ask forgiveness, and say, "I'm sorry. Please forgive me." You need to learn "early and often" how to do it quickly, clearly, and directly! But…

It's also super important to know when you're NOT wrong, guilty, or at fault! It's super important to know when you're NOT sorry!

You may not be aware of this but, as far as guilt and blame go, the instant you opened your heart to Jesus, you were declared absolutely, positively, eternally, totally, juridically, thoroughly, constantly, consistently, hygenically, spiritually, legally, retroactively and forever-ly NOT GUILTY! More than not guilty and forgiven, you were justified ("pronounced once and for all, righteous!!!") because of what Jesus did for you! I bet if we all believed this as much as it is actually true, we'd all be joyfully "jumping for joy", always bright n' sunny, maybe even a little nutty! People across the globe would be asking, "What do those people have that gives them so much joy!? I want it!!"

To keep this from happening…and to keep Christians under control…there is an Enemy who wants you to feel guilty, dirty, blamed for things that aren't even your fault! He can't really do it by putting your picture in those little papers they sell in the 7/11's of all the folks locked up in the slammer that week (What's the deal with those, anyway?) He has to be more subtle than that. Sometimes he uses "church folk". It's an old trick. He tries to make you feel guilty for things you didn't do …or for things that aren't even wrong!

There have been some "church folk" from up in Scott Co. or somewhere, coming into the Anderson Co. Jail, into OUR unit, telling OUR guys that there's only one real, "authorized" translation of the Bible (canst thou guesseth which one they meaneth?) and if you read any other, they say it's sinful! Guys ask us, "I'm reading the Living Bible and I finally understand it! What's wrong with that?!" Really! What could possibly be wrong with that? Those guys have tons of problems, but reading a Bible they understand is NOT one of them! They need to say, "Hey! I like this modern-day, normal language Bible. And I am NOT sorry!"

One day somewhere, I saw one of those church marque signs that said, "Is your time with God well-spent?"

I thought, "Wow. Many who drive by that don't spend time with God ever because they don't know Jesus at all. Many who believe in Him don't spend time with Him because they don't need or want to. But I bet someone who is having a hard time got up before the sun to be with the One he or she loves and needs. And even if they fell asleep in the middle because it was such a sacrifice to get up so early  to be with Him…and even if their Bible has drool stains on it from where their face landed and stuck as they nodded off while telling their troubles to Him…even then, the Father loved that time so much because a heart was looking for His! And He rejoiced over His child "with singing and delight", the prophets say! Being with Him…even trying to be with Him…is the most beautiful and beautifying thing about them!

But someone wants to know, "Sure. But was it good enough?"


Thanks…for nothin'.

Why would anyone want to make someone feel guilty about the best part of themselves?

I wondered if someone who had just spent time alone with Jesus…someone who is trying to take care of her kids on her own because she's alone…or maybe someone who just heard news he didn't expect about his job or his health…wished they could say to the sign guy, "Hey! My time with God is not an Olympic Games I'm competing in! It's not a test I'm taking! It's sure not a grade you're giving me! It's a relationship of love that I am…and that He is…enjoying! I spent time with God this morning. And I am NOT sorry!"

There are plenty of times when I have to say, quickly, clearly, directly, "I'm sorry. Will you please forgive me?" I heard a beautiful but chilling song the other morning. It's by Sara Groves. It's called, "Roll To the Middle"...

"We just had a World War III here in our kitchen
We both thought the meanest things.
And then we both said them
We shot at each other till we lost amunition

This is how I know our love
This is when I feel it's power
Here in the absence of it.
This is my darkest hour…

All the complicated wars
They end pretty simple
Here when the lights go down
We roll to the middle

No matter how my pride resists
No matter how this wall feels true
No matter how I can't be sure
That you're gonna roll in too
No matter what, no matter what
I'm going to reach for you…"

Saying, "I'm sorry. Will you forgive me?" It's how you "roll to the middle." You need to know how to do it.

On the other hand, and at other times…

I know I'm clean!
I know I'm loved!
I know I'm His!

And if I laugh a lot, and maybe more than someone feels is appropriate, at things that are really funny because God has filled my heart with joy…
I'm NOT sorry!

And if I eat stuff that "God has giving me richly to enjoy" (1 Timothy 6.17) tho' some might think is not sugar-free enough, or not meat-less enough, or not whole-wheat enough…
I'm NOT sorry!

And this weekend, if it rains all weekend, I may be wet, but…
I'm NOT sorry!