Saturday, June 11, 2011

What Does “Glory to God” Really Mean?

Jesus “humbled himself and became obedient to the point of death — even death on a cross.”

~Philippians 2:8 (NRSV).

We’ll be wrong at times, no matter how pious we started out. Ironically, this is how God receives the glory always due, but often cut off from, the Lord of Glory. This is done by absorbing the wrong, even when by our own admission we aren’t wrong. Being wrong or not wrong isn’t the point.

Where the glory’s going; that’s the point.

When We’re Wrong

With a firm view of our wrongness — to be focused there, in a worldly sense — gets us down, and keeps us down, unless the Spirit leads us there for repentance. Hurt occurs for many reasons.

But it’s when we’re wrong that we have the perfect opportunity to send glory into Glory.

This is about honesty. The Lord will fight to clear our name if we’re honest. There’s no shame in mistakes. Think about how rarely the world sees manifest, courageous honesty these days. But the power in this integrity goes before us, and God’s glorified in the heavens. Defending ourselves when others know we’re wrong is deplorable — it wrangles with the average person’s sense of justice.

We need constant reminding: we will be wrong, and often enough. It is okay to be wrong.

When We Aren’t Wrong

Though he was never wrong, Jesus could separate fact from emotion, and in being accused of wrong, he could see the Father’s purpose.

Acting like the silent Lamb, who didn’t even open its mouth (Isaiah 53:7), we can assert our freedom to withstand the temptation to fight as the world fights. After all, God fights much better! The Lord’s just a little slower at taking up the cudgel. But that justice of God’s, from the perspective of eternity, is as swift as it is final. We do well to remember, as far as God’s plan goes, this has already occurred. It’s destined to happen, and it will happen.

There’s a discreet departure from the ‘doormat’ experience here. The difference is we’re actively choosing to step right out of the way, avoiding the shards of stray shrapnel splintering chaotically from within the conflict to the outermost reach of its array. Wise avoidance is spiritual bullet-proofing.

When to Fight

Choosing when to be ‘wrong’ and when to fight — and how — however, is a vast wisdom. Jesus fought when he needed to. The difference is the court.

If we’re before a kangaroo court — adjudged by peers or otherwise nobodies — the former approach is best; an asserted silence.

It’s when we’re before proper authority — among processes of justice we can and should trust, however, that we need to state our case clearly, honestly, and succinctly, with no thought of embellishment.


Could it be our highest Christian aim: to send the glory, due God in any event, heavenward? We do this via situational wisdom of inaction or action.

© 2011 S. J. Wickham.

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