"When I am an old woman I shall wear purple," begins the famous poem about aging and "doing your own thing." I thought it was funny, and showed it to my mother about 20 years ago.
"How terrible!" Mom said. She reacted reflexively, immediately - with horror. "I wouldn't want to spit and swear. Who would want to be like that? I want to become a sweet old lady." She is still a lady, a friend to many, and lovely to be around at 75 years of age.
That got me thinking. How many of us have bought into society's values without even knowing it? The Hallmark cartoon Maxine features a crabby older woman, taking on the world with a sour, jaded attitude. I think John Wagner captured many of us well, As our bodies age and our minds resemble sieves rather than fishing nets, we can forget how beautiful and rich life is.
Waldemar and I have been watching past episodes of Lie to Me, featuring scientists who read facial and body language to find the truth. Seeing so many ways to commit crimes, hide broken relationships, and deceive others, I'm aghast our fallen natures.
Who thinks up these TV episodes? Who knows the world so well, and so badly, that unthinkable crimes and violence are accepted as entertainment? I admit that I like the detection of vice. I'm happy that criminals are brought to justice and the innocent are vindicated. What bothers me is that even the "innocent" are flawed and often unlikable. No one seems to value purity and strong character.
Which makes me pause to ask, "What standards are we aiming for? Do we want to be a little better than the next person? A little less angry, a bit kinder, more loving... maybe even go out of our way to help someone once in a while?"
Or do we strive to be revolutionized as our hearts are overtaken by Love? Are we aware of God's expectations and trying to please him by conforming to his character? Are we continually renewed from the inside out because we've been reborn as children of our Heavenly Father?
Are we measuring ourselves with the standards of scripture or the culture of the world around us? Saturation in biblical stories, teachings, and proverbs helps us sort out what is pleasing to God. Let's dive in, head-first, tippy-toes getting wet as we slide into the Word of God. Let's compare ourselves to Christ, like Romans 12:1-2 says (below.) And let the transformation begin!
*For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us. Psalm 103:11-12 NLT
*"Come now, let us reason together," says the LORD. "Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool. If you are willing and obedient, you will eat the best from the land; but if you resist and rebel, you will be devoured by the sword." For the mouth of the LORD has spoken. Isaiah 1:18-20 NIV
*Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.
For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you. Romans 12:1-3 NIV