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Monday, March 23, 2009

Balance

Charles Williams, in his novel The Place of the Lion noted that “some things were possible only to a man in companionship, and of these the most important was balance. No mind was so good that it did not need another mind to counter and equal it and to save it from conceit and blindness and bigotry and folly. Only in such balance could humility be found…” Williams’ statement makes several key points. He notes that we can’t be successful by going it alone. We were designed to be in relationship with others. We also aren’t perfect. We need someone to assist us by being a foil to counter our errors and point out our sins. In the everyday course of life, it is very easy to become unbalanced. We can easily either go off on tangents or become consumed with our vocations, our drives or our passions. At times we can even become so devoted to doing good things that we neglect other things, such as our families or our health. We have then become unbalanced and have lost true perspective. We need someone to point us back in the right direction.

A tangent has one point in common with the true path. But then it veers off ever so slightly, but bit by bit, until it is far away. But because the initial wandering away from the path is so minute we don’t even know we have gone off course. Even when we have gone far afield we don’t realize we have drifted away, for the changes have been so gradual.

When we reach this point it usually is impossible for us to return to a balanced position on our own. We desperately need someone who can provide a counterweight, who can question and encourage us, give us perspective and gently lead us back to the balance we truly need in our lives. We need someone who will be honest with us, who loves us enough to care about our destiny, and who will help us find balance and perspective. We need someone who will point us back to God and his word, for God is the only one who can truly bring balance into our lives. After all, it was God who sent his Son into our unbalanced world to restore us to a balanced relationship with him. We also need someone who is not afraid to point out our sin. As Williams says, without this we will never achieve humility. It is only when we recognize our own sin that we can become humble before God. Without that corrective, we easily fall into pride and conceit. Our minister or priest can fulfill that role. But we also can do it for each other.

When someone reaches out to us in this way, we must be willing to listen and take their advice. If we refuse to do this we have reached the point of no return. We will then never find the place of balance that our souls desperately seek. We will remain adrift, unable to satisfy the void that exists in our lives. And that void will continue to spiral us downward, farther and farther into an unbalanced life that will take us further and further from the God who loves us. Before we find ourselves reaching that end, it is important for us to ask ourselves two important questions. First, am I willing to listen, take advice and change? And second, who can I turn to who will help me find balance and perspective in my daily life?

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