Taking it Personally

By Marcia Laycock

Computers come with a lot of handy features, like spelling and grammar checkers. These programmed helps are great, but unfortunately they are not designed to detect the subtleties of the English language. They can miss things, words that aren't misspelled but aren't used properly, like their and there, for instance. Grammar checkers sometimes tell you to change things that are accurate, or add unnecessary words or punctuation. The programs aren't always right, but they can sometimes make interesting changes.

Sometimes, if the program is set to function automatically, the changes made can be down right startling. My husband was using our home computer one day. He typed a capital 'M' and hit the period. My name instantly popped up. He tried again and the same thing happened. He wondered if someone was trying to tell him something. He didn't know I had programmed the computer to do that, to avoid having to repeatedly type my name at the top of manuscripts and letters.

My computer startled me the other day in a similar way. I was working on an article and typed a fairly straightforward sentence, in the first person plural. The computer did not like the sentence. It told me to change the plural to the singular, the corporate to the individual. It wanted me to replace "we" with "I."

Seeing that small pronoun in that sentence, in black and white, made me stop. In fact, it almost took my breath away. Suddenly the scenario was personal and I heard that still small voice whispering, "What about you? Are you including yourself in that equation?"

Jesus often made things personal. He did not allow his disciples to judge others nor elevate themselves above the crowd. He often turned to them and said, "What about you?" He warned them that they were to realize they were no better than other men; all are capable of the same sins.

In the book of Luke, chapter 18, Jesus tells the story of two men who went to pray in the synagogue. The prayer of one man, a religious leader, was all about himself - how righteous he was compared to others, how thankful he was that he was better than other men. The other man, a despised tax collector, prayed for mercy because he recognized his sin. Jesus said, "I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled and he who humbles himself will be exalted." (v.14).

It's easy to use those other pronouns, the corporate "we," or the more condemning, "you." It is much more advisable, however, to use that troublesome pronoun, "I" as often a possible. Jesus wants us to see ourselves for who we are because forgiveness and salvation are personal matters. "We" may be forgiven, but "I" must receive that forgiveness for myself. "We" may be Christians, but "I" must know Jesus died for me.

Make it personal. Jesus did.

Marcia is a pastor's wife and mother of three girls, a freelance writer and President of Inscribe Christian Writers' Fellowship. She has recently published a devotional book, The Spur of the Moment, billed as slices of life that stir your spirit.

To order contact Essence Publishing, 1-800-238-6376 or VineMarc Literary Services - vinemarc@rttinc.com Read more of Marcia's work on her website - www.vinemarc.ab.ca

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