I’m OK

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My mind right now is being drawn to an incident that happened to me many years ago. It was winter and I was on a private pond with some siblings and friends doing some ice skating. The pond had an island with a bridge connecting it to the mainland. As we chased each other over the ice, we would circle the island and duck under the bridge as we glided on. All too soon it was time to go home. I had skated for quite a while already, but I decided to quick get some more skating in before we had to leave for home. I sped around the pond as fast as my skates would carry me. Pretty soon I was ducking under the bridge again. This time went differently. The only thing I remember is a sickening thud as my head came in contact with the bridge and I fell to a crumpled heap on the ground. Even as my world was starting to go black I was jumping back to my feet. A concerned friend helped to get me seated on shore and asked me, “Are you all right?” I quickly replied, “I’m OK.” (What of the threatening black out? What of the warm sensation on my face?) As the light shone on me, his quick reply was, “No you’re NOT!” You are really bleeding. And so for the next little while, I submitted to my friends as they helped me wash my face and held cold wash rags to the wounds till my bleeding finally stopped.
There seems to be a great desire within us to be normal. Youth and adults alike do things to fit in to the “in” group. When this is the motivation, you find yourself with no anchor in life. You do what friends do and friends do what you do. It creates the same everlasting spiral you get when you face a mirror to a mirror.
Sometimes I’ll hear people arguing in justification of something saying the Bible doesn’t command against it. They’re loudly proclaiming, “I’m OK.” Thought MUST be given to whether the Bible has principles that would show us a different way. You don’t have to look far into history to see churches who changed their code of ethics with little thought to what the Bible says, strictly on the basis that many of their people, leaders or laity, thought it was OK.
On the streets as you give out Christian literature, you will frequently encounter people who say, “I’m religious.” (Fill in religious with the name of any religion.) They’re trying to communicate to you that they are OK, they don’t need your God, and their lives are just fine without Him, so move on.
Currently, as we face elections, there are candidates who’ve been spending months trying to prove that their views and agendas are the OK ones.
So naturally speaking, where does “OK” take an individual? I could have bled to death. Peer pressure makes people do some very unacceptable things. A careless search of the Bible doesn’t mean you have the truth. Just choosing a religion doesn’t get one to heaven. Political candidates push ideas in direct contradiction to each other.
Don’t we have to conclude that OK as an expression of how I am is many times just a facade? Many times we aren’t even being honest with ourselves. How many times have you told someone who inquired how you are doing that you were OK or fine when really you were feeling sick, you were seriously discouraged about something, or your heart was broken and bleeding. And remember that brother/sister beside you may be struggling, too. If we want to build community in our congregations we need to get rid of the facade. We need to be humble enough to share that it’s not all OK. We need to be willing to be vulnerable. Only then can we find the power in visiting together, praying together, or even crying together.
The skating incident started out as friends just having a good time with each other. However, it was when I was bleeding and not ready to own up to the danger I was in that the true meaning of friends became alive. My friends helped me to see that I was not OK. They helped to stop the bleeding. They were one of the steps in restoring my body back to normal operating condition. As we relate as brothers and sisters, let be those that would spend our time strengthening and building each other up.
God calls us to relationships. He wants to be able to give that chastening that will make us better. He wants us to fling open our hearts door and get rid of the facade. He wants to sit with us and fellowship even as He does with His Father. His message to us is, “As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent. Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me. To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne (Rev 3:19-21). That kind of relationship is more than OK, it’s wonderful!
Bronx, NY