Words from a Father

Husband of One, Father of Four

Tag: understand

462. Essay: Sacrifice and Relationship

We all long for things such as love and belonging, peace, joy, to make an impact, and even to live forever. The blunt person might say this is a good description of heaven. But to be with God in heaven requires two things according to Christianity: sacrifice for our sin and relationship with Him while we live — in that order. Sacrifice for wrongdoing is a common theme running through every ancient culture and still permeating our own.

Since we have all done wrong, we can only offer a sacrifice for our own individual sin; my sacrifice for my sin and you for yours. But once I sacrifice myself for my sin, I cannot live and be in relationship with God, which is the second requirement. This is the classic catch-22, like what we see in “The Gift of the Magi”. There is not enough money for a gift, so the giver sells the thing most precious to them to obtain the gift. Only after do they find out that the complement to the gift was destroyed in the process. It’s like selling all the salt to gain only the pepper.

If a sacrifice must be given first and the relationship formed second, then the solution seems logical. If a perfect human — perfect in the ultimate sense: perfect inception, perfect qualities, and perfect life — were to offer themself as a sacrifice, an imperfect human would benefit.

If this human were actually more than a human — eternal instead of temporal, all-powerful instead of weak — then their sacrifice would extend not just to one human, but to all of imperfect humanity. The acceptable sacrifice of one perfect human would be an umbrella of mercy covering every person who has ever lived.

No wonder that, amidst a chapter about the sacrifice of Jesus on the crucifixion tree, the speaker exclaims, “His banner over me was love” (Song 2:1–4).

Through Jesus the demand for justice is fully satisfied so that we may embark on being fully satisfied in relationship with God.

When we look now at the two requirements to be with God in heaven, it seems it was all a ruse. God did what we could not do in order to give us what we wanted all along: heaven. God the Son took on our debt of sacrifice so we could take on the joy of relationship.

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447. True Peace

True peace is tangible, but is beyond understanding.

445. Myopic Arrogance

Myopia worsens with increased arrogance.

399. Dictionary

Dictionaries are imperative. There’s a difference between bodacious, salacious, and pugnacious.

366. Self-taught

Make self-taught a way of life.

363. Perspective

From a distance, even jagged lines may appear smooth. This is true of design as well as life.

352. Communication

Don’t speak louder to a blind person. The only change in communication you should make is to someone who is hard of hearing, with whom you may speak louder, or to a child, with whom you should speak more simply.

351. Mind Your Elder

It would do you well to spend time around the elderly. There is no room for arrogance in the final stages of life, and this is where we are all headed.

341. Quotes: Arthur Quiller-Couch on Written Style

“For — believe me, Gentlemen — so far as Handel stands above Chopin, as Velasquez above Greuze, even so far stand the great masculine objective writers above all who appeal to you by parade of personality or private sentiment.

Mention of these great masculine ‘objective’ writers brings me to my last word: which is, ‘Steep yourselves in them: habitually bring all to the test of them: for while you cannot escape the fate of all style, which is to be personal, the more of catholic manhood you inherit from those great loins the more you will assuredly beget.’

This then is Style. As technically manifested in Literature it is the power to touch with ease, grace, precision, any note in the gamut of human thought or emotion.

But essentially it resembles good manners. It comes of endeavouring to understand others, of thinking for them rather than for yourself — of thinking, that is, with the heart as well as the head. It gives rather than receives; it is nobly careless of thanks or applause, not being fed by these but rather sustained and continually refreshed by an inward loyalty to the best. Yet, like ‘character’ it has its altar within; to that retires for counsel, from that fetches its illumination, to ray outwards. Cultivate, Gentlemen, that habit of withdrawing to be advised by the best. So, says Fénelon, ‘you will find yourself infinitely quieter, your words will be fewer and more effectual; and while you make less ado, what you do will be more profitable.’”

—“On the Art of Writing,” Chapter 12: Lectures Delivered in the University of Cambridge, 1913–1914, by Sir Arthur Quiller-Couch (1863–1944), published in 1916 by Cambridge University Press

301. Experiment

Turn your children’s bad choices into science experiments explaining cause and effect and the responsibility of their choices.

Two nights ago, eldest daughter, you decided to take a plastic bag of melted ice into your room that previously was used to soothe your bumped head. You played with it on your sister’s bed and then squeezed it until it broke.

After drying her bed we spent almost an hour filling plastic sandwich bags with water, dreaming up ways to burst them, theorizing what would happen, and carrying it out.

Beyond having fun splashing each other in the sink, we learned that the walls of the plastic sandwich bag are weaker than the seal, and usually in the same region — about a half inch below the seal. And a bad choice was turned into a learning opportunity.

This night was brought to you by the words force, pressure, and the number of bags we broke: five.

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