Room to dance

Sometimes I make the wrong choice. When Nicky (my four-year old) and I go out for frozen yogurt, we like to share a bowl. This isn’t always a good idea. The last time we went out the struggle came down to the last gummy bear. I knew what Jesus would do in the situation. I should have surrendered the helpless little bear. Instead, it came down to a wild west showdown and I was the last man standing. It was the wrong choice. Nicky’s eyes filled up with tears and I felt awful the entire walk home (he has since recovered).

I’m not perfect. Sometimes my actions don’t line up with the truth I hold in my heart. God uses those moments to remind me that He is perfect and I am not. Remembering frees me to get rid of the pedestal I’ve put myself on, forgetting is like dancing on it. A pedestal is a horrible place to dance. One wrong step and you are on the ground. I need a little space to move around, flail my awkward body, and occasionally embarrass myself. A place where because I know a perfect God, I can be imperfect me. On the ground there is room for failure and God uses failure.

Remember Peter’s big failure? After walking with Jesus and witnessing His miracles, he still denied Christ three times (Mark 14:66). Why? Because we all stumble in many ways (James 3:2). Peter was no different. He battled with his flesh just like me and sometimes he made the wrong choice.

When a bad choice knocks you off your pedestal you can either face it and forget it, or remember Jesus and bow down low. Peter broke down and wept:

And He broke down and wept. (Mark 14:72)

That word wept gives the idea of continually crying. You know that feeling of regret where the more you think of something, the more it hurts? That is the kind of place Peter went. Where he is forced to relinquish his pedestal of lies that made him think he would never make a mistake. On the ground Peter had plenty of room to bow down low in repentance.

We all make bad choices (1 John 1:8). But God can use our failure to turn our hearts towards him. Peter wept over his sin and lived out his days as a radical man of faith. Remember Pentecost, 3000 lives changes, Peter got to preach that message (Acts 2:14). When failure leads to repentance, God comes in, takes your weakness, and shows Himself strong on your behalf (2 Cor 12:9).

What are you standing on? If it a pedestal that convinces you, you wont ever make a bad choice, it is lie and God wants to free you from it. There is no shame for those whose heart is for the Lord (Romans 8:1). If you’ve made a bad choice, you can ignore that lying stool and bow down low. God is faithful to forgive (1 John 1:9).

The problem with a pedestal is there is no room to dance. There is no freedom in that.

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One thought on “Room to dance

  1. Mr. Chen,谢谢你及时的短评,我也一直在关注着这本词典。我不认为这是第一本美国版学习型词典,至少我手头上就有一本The American Heritage Dictionary for Learners of English。不过,应该承认,American Heritage 的这本学习型词典比较简单,规模和其他几本学习型词典不可同日而语。另外,我知道你写文章精益求精,但还是期望看到你更多的posts;而且,如果能更多地侧重于词典的内容,而不仅仅限于光盘的使用,那就更好了。最后,附上Amazon上对这本词典最新的,也是唯一的读者书评:Merriam-Webster’s at its best, September 27, 2008By Holger MetzgerThe list of Advanced Learner’s dictionaries is as long as my arm: Oxford, Cambridge, Collins…—and now there’s Merriam-Webster’s. I guess it was about time: the marekt for this kind of thing is huge. It is not surprising that M-W finally wanted its share of the pie.Well, M-W did not re-invent the concept: If you know the layout of one, you know them all: headwords are in bold, pronunciations are in the International Phonetic Alphabet, definitions come next, usually followed by one or two examples (in blue) to clarify the meaning of the word in question. Usage notes and illustrations are interspersed throughout the book. Like the Oxford Advanced Learner’s, M-W highlights approx. 3000 basic English words as the most important words a learner needs to know. Also included in the book: 16 pages color art (again, most dictionaries have those), an English Grammar review, often confused words, spelling rules, a handbook of style (mostly punctuation, capitals and italics), weight and measures, e-mail and letter writing, etc.The dictionary covers both British and American English. But the focus is definitely on the latter: in spelling and pronunciation, American is the norm (which is fine by me: it is an American Learner’s, after all!). The definitions are written in a clear and simple language (as far as I can tell). Entries are up-to-date. Last but not least, a free eBook download is included (but not yet available as I’m writing this).What is mssing is an accompanying version on CD. The online edition makes up for it, though.But the nagging question remains whether there is a compelling reason to buy it… in all fairness NOT if you already have one of the latest Advanced Learner’s available out there: Oxford is still the gold standard (a bit overrated I think), and Cambridge is getting better and better with each edition.But make no mistake: M-W’s Advanced Learner’s is an excellent dictionary and a worthy addition to the Advanced Learner’s Dictionaries marekt. It is quality throughout. If you are thinking about getting an ESL dictionary (especially if you want to focus on American English), you may want to give it a shot.

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