Sunday, March 26, 2006

Blogging Psalm 4

The names in this story have been changed to maintain the confidentiality of those people involved.

I remember when he first came to the unit. He was scrawny little thing with loads of energy. This young man was very nice and polite, with a smile a mile wide. This little son of an immigrant from Africa had already taken to playing with the others. I asked the social worker checking him in what his problem was. He told me "nothing." It took five minutes talking to the new boy to figure out that the only reason he said "Yes, sir" to everything I asked was because it was the only English he knew at the time. For the sake of the story, I'll call him Michael.

I was working at a children's home. Most of the kids there we facing some sort of difficulty in adjusting to a regular school. This boy's issue was that he had just moved from Africa and spoke no English. Because of his age, we could only move him into a room with James, a fire-headed little boy who had experienced more life by age seven than I had by sixteen. James was constantly in trouble. My bosses were hoping that having a nice young man in the same room could benefit both of them.

After Michael learned his new roomate's name, they proceeded to play like they were old friends. Content with this arrangement, I finished out my shift and took my two days off. When I came back, I found the Michael was learning some more English, especially how to deflect punishment. Everytime I would find something going on that shouldn't be, I would hear "Not me!" It was one of James' specialties.

So, it was getting close to dinner time, and James and Michael were playing in their room. I walked down the hall and said, Michael. Without missing a beat, I hear, "Not me! James." Trying to hold back the laughter, I informed them that it was time to stuff their faces. Two smiling little heads poked out of their room. They had done nothing wrong... this time.

I decided that day that passing blame is ingrained in our minds right after the reflex that makes your nose itch when someone is looking directly at you. We're naturals at it.

David wrote a song talking about the very same thing. People were beginning to blame him for all the problems that were going on in Israel. This psalm is more than just a whiny country song. David is desperately crying out to God begging him to avert a civil war. Then he gives some great advice to the people:

"In your anger do not sin; when you are in your beds, search your hearts and be silent. Offer right sacrifices and trust in the LORD. " (NIV)

When we're having troubles and hard times, it's so easy to go straight for the Blame Game. Instead, we need to take heart in the words of the songwriter. We need to offer our praise to God in the hard times as well as the good, always trusting in God. Then he will give us a "greater joy" than we've ever experienced before.

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