JavaScript is disabled in your web browser or browser is too old to support JavaScript. Today almost all web pages contain JavaScript, a scripting programming language that runs on visitor's web browser. It makes web pages functional for specific purposes and if disabled for some reason, the content or the functionality of the web page can be limited or unavailable.
Vieraskieliset / In-english

Blog: Am I still good enough?

Vieraskieliset / In-english
24.4.2017 6.13

We are he­a­ding to­wards spring and the time when schools close for the sum­mer. Stu­dents will get re­port cards with gra­des to show how well they have done at school. Some stu­dents have done their best to get good gra­des and have wor­ked hard on their as­sign­ments. Some ot­hers have, for some re­a­son, not wor­ked so hard and will pro­bab­ly get lo­wer gra­des. Yet some ot­hers may have had he­alth prob­lems that have in­ter­fe­red with their stu­dies.

Stu­dents are usu­al­ly in­te­res­ted in their gra­des, as are al­so their friends, re­la­ti­ves and ot­her ac­qu­ain­tan­ces. Qui­te un­ders­tan­dab­ly, stu­dents with good gra­des re­cei­ve po­si­ti­ve feed­back from ot­her pe­op­le. Stu­dents who have not done so well may not like to dis­cuss their gra­des pub­lic­ly. It would be good if gra­ding did not dis­cou­ra­ge stu­dents from furt­her stu­dies but rat­her inc­re­a­sed their mo­ti­va­ti­on to work cons­cien­ti­ous­ly on their as­sign­ments.

I have won­de­red if be­lie­vers al­so tend to eva­lu­a­te their own or ot­her pe­op­le’s en­de­a­vor in faith with a gra­ding sys­tem? Does one get a bet­ter grade for going to ser­vi­ces or church of­ten or by vo­lun­tee­ring to work? Do even those who want to lis­ten to God’s word qui­et­ly on their own and be­lie­ve it per­so­nal­ly for them­sel­ves me­rit to be cal­led dis­cip­les? Who has the right and aut­ho­ri­ty to eva­lu­a­te the state of anot­her per­son’s soul.

Fa­ced with such qu­es­ti­ons, I feel my­self shrink away both as a per­son and as a be­lie­ver. I ad­mit that I have so­me­ti­mes won­de­red and eva­lu­a­ted ot­her pe­op­le ba­sed on what they have done or said. I have pon­de­red whet­her some words of deeds have ari­sen from faith or sin. As far as I un­ders­tand, if we are ge­nui­ne­ly wor­ried about the state of the soul of so­me­o­ne, we have the right to ap­p­ro­ach that per­son with mer­cy and truth. Have I al­wa­ys had the strength or cou­ra­ge to ap­p­ro­ach such a per­son, or have I per­haps sha­red my con­cerns with so­me­o­ne el­se? Pon­de­ring on such mat­ters, I can­not give my­self a very good grade. And my eva­lu­a­ti­on of my own en­de­a­vor in faith is even lo­wer.

Af­ter my ac­ci­dent and the di­sa­bi­li­ty that en­su­ed I al­so felt spi­ri­tu­al­ly di­sab­led and ex­pe­rien­ced my most se­ri­ous cri­sis of faith so far. I was no lon­ger ab­le to go to ser­vi­ces in the way I used to. My brain in­ju­ry ma­kes me ti­red, unab­le to con­cent­ra­te pro­per­ly, and overw­hel­med by so­ci­al con­tacts, and I the­re­fo­re can­not go to ser­vi­ces eve­ry week, or I go and on­ly lis­ten to one speech. Neck pain ma­kes it dif­fi­cult to sit in the pew, es­pe­ci­al­ly as I al­so need to avoid inad­ver­tent jost­ling by ot­her ser­vi­ce gu­ests, which may cau­se dre­ad­ful symp­toms. In big­ger ser­vi­ces I of­ten need to take a break and rest by my­self for a while.

Going to ser­vi­ces has not been the on­ly chal­len­ge in my spi­ri­tu­al cri­sis. It is not ea­sy to ac­cept and ack­now­led­ge that I can no lon­ger par­ti­ci­pa­te in the work of God’s king­dom in the way I used to. It has been pain­ful to give up my turns at ac­com­pa­nying the sin­ging as well as the kitc­hen crew and va­ri­ous long-term tasks. I so­me­ti­mes feel en­vi­ous loo­king at my friends ac­ti­ve­ly in­vol­ved in their du­ties, which al­low them to feel that they are truly part of their home cong­re­ga­ti­on. Alt­hough I know it is not al­wa­ys ea­sy to le­a­ve the home for such du­ties, I al­so know that we of­ten feel an up­lif­ting sen­se of fel­lows­hip while wor­king to­get­her.

Loo­king at my­self, I have strug­g­led with the qu­es­ti­on of whet­her I can still con­si­der my­self a be­lie­ver, being so crip­p­led and doub­ting. How can I find my place among the ot­hers? Am I ac­cep­tab­le be­fo­re God?

With such thoughts I on­ce sat in the pew at the back of the sanc­tu­a­ry. I was arou­sed from my pon­de­ring by the spe­a­ker’s words: ”If Je­sus came to our ser­vi­ces to­night, gu­ess who He would go to meet first? He would go to the one with a bro­ken mind who feels weak and unac­cep­tab­le.” I awo­ke from my re­ve­rie with a start. My ey­es fil­led with te­ars, and my mind fil­led with light. I re­a­li­zed there may be many ot­her lis­te­ners who feel the same way. The spe­a­ker con­ti­nu­ed to pre­ach all lis­te­ners their sins for­gi­ven in Je­sus’ name and blood. I felt safe to be­lie­ve those com­for­ting words to my­self.

Mart­ha and Mary both had a place in Je­sus’ com­pa­ny. One of them was hard­wor­king and ac­ti­ve, but she pro­bab­ly al­so lis­te­ned to Je­sus’ inst­ruc­ti­on while wor­king. The ot­her sat qui­et­ly lis­te­ning and did not par­ti­ci­pa­te in prac­ti­cal cho­res.

There is still room in God’s King­dom for both Mart­has and Ma­rys. When our time co­mes to le­a­ve, we will not be as­ked how hard we wor­ked to earn the grace. The on­ly thing we will be as­ked is whet­her we have faith in our he­art. Are our sins for­gi­ven and are we at pe­a­ce with God? Pos­ses­sing that grace and pe­a­ce, we can sa­fe­ly close our ey­es to this world and be re­mo­ved from time to eter­ni­ty in­to our he­a­ven­ly home with God.

Text: Rai­ja Ves­te­ri­nen

Trans­la­ti­on: S.-L. Lei­no­nen

You will find the ori­gi­nal Fin­nish blog post here.


Sa­nat, jot­ka Her­ra on pu­hu­nut, ovat hen­ki ja elä­mä. Joh. 6:63

Viikon kysymys