Eugene Cho

resolutions for the heart

2012. Can you believe it?

We’re upon another new year and as such, it’s that time of the year where many are formulating their new year’s resolutions. During this time, I normally have a list of a few mental resolutions including one that involves my expanding waistline but that’s not the point of this post.

Instead, there’s 3 things I’m going to strive for in the upcoming year. I wish they were easy easier to accomplish or easy to measure like losing 10 pounds, running 3 days per week, drinking more water, etc.

Rather, the 3 goals I have for my life  in the upcoming year deal with some more painful and difficult issues.

Namely: my heart…

They are what I call ‘resolutions for the heart.’ So, here they are in all its depravity – exposed:

Hate Less. Love More. 

So simple but so hard. I’m learning how it’s amazing how our views, judgments, and biases inform us in such a way that it has the dark capacity to nearly influence how we see a person, circumstance, and situation.

When you dislike someone, it doesn’t matter what “good” they do or intend…we’ll find a way to be critical. We’ll find the ugly. Ugly finds ugly.

How do I know this?

I look in the mirror and I see my personal depravity.

So, while we want to focus on the ‘ugly’ of others, the bigger issue is our own personal ugly which – when undealt with – will always find the ugly in others. You see…ugly find ugly.

Yup: Hate Less. Love More.

Bless. Bless. Bless.

One way I can hate less and love more is to really examine the way I engage with others – especially those with whom I have issue. In the name of being “friendly”, I find it certainly easy to appear friendly or generous but beyond appearance, the big gut-check question I want to have the courage to ask myself is this:

Do I really want ______ to be blessed?

And by “to be  blessed”, I mean…

Do I really want to see _____ prosper in the Lord?

It’s not just merely a desire to bless others but I’ve come to learn that in wanting to truly bless and love others, it’s one of the manners by which God liberates us to experience the freedom we have in His grace.

Stop throwing stones.

In the upcoming year, I want to learn to stop throwing stones – not literally (of course) but  metaphorically (and in my heart & mind). In our day and age, it’s become much easier (and accepted) to “Throw stones first. Ask questions later.”

Respect and civility seem to be a growing issue – not just in the public forum of politics but in our broader society – especially as it pertains to our engagement with whom we have disagreements. And without relationship, we can make judgments and borderline condemnations:

  • If you don’t support homosexuality, you’re anti-gay.
  • If you support gay rights, you’re anti-marriage.
  • If you don’t support women in leadership, you’re anti-women.
  • If you support women in leadership, you’re anti-Scriptures.
  • If you don’t support the war in _________, you’re anti-American.
  • If you do work in international development, you’re anti-domestic care.
  • If you do work in local development, you anti-global.
  • If you don’t support Eugene, you’re anti-Eugene.

I want to go on the record and declare that I’m anti your anti-________.  Thus, I’ve neutralized your anti-ness. And I’m brilliant.

Seriously. We often live as people who are defined by what we are against and not necessarily, what we are for.

Can we agree? It’s hard to love your enemies when you can’t even hear what they’re saying… So, listen first. And don’t throw stones.

How about you?

What are your resolutions? Your spiritual pursuits?

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8 Responses

  1. corwinleedraven says:

    Very challenging heart thoughts. May we all come to the point when stones are not an option.

  2. James Moon says:

    It won’t bother anyone unless it’s true. One way of hating less and loving more is to become real. Projecting to others that one is really loving especially when in subtle ways you take shots at easy targets is just a cheap way to feel good about oneself or to gain cheap sympathy.

    This phoniness also comes out in those who decide to engage in justice and political issues, where the opposite of love is not hate but indifference. Perhaps, they only engage with the expected reward to be liked or popular. However, conscious ignorance in order to support obvious evils means its time to grow a back bone and shows the heart deep down is not sincere.

    Even a homosexual liberal like Glenn Greenwald, outlines how Obama’s ‘progressive’ supporters are phonies. But the correlations can be made towards those who consider themselves as “CHRIST FOLLOWERS.”

    Progressives easily point out trivial flaws of a Rick Perry or Bachmann, so that they “can feel good about themselves for supporting Obama: his right-wing opponent is a warmonger, a servant to Wall Street, a neocon, a devotee of harsh and racist criminal justice policies, etc. etc.”

    “Progressives like to think of themselves as the faction that stands for peace, opposes wars, believes in due process and civil liberties, distrusts the military-industrial complex, supports candidates who are devoted to individual rights, transparency and economic equality. All of these facts — like the history laid out by Stoller in that essay — negate that desired self-perception.”

    http://www.salon.com/2011/12/31/progressives_and_the_ron_paul_fallacies/

  3. Melody says:

    A needed word. Preach it.

  4. Dennis Lyons says:

    It’s amazing how our truths FIT our perceptions!!! What is ones’ truth is not particularly The Truth!
    Just saying, only God knows the motives of thr heart!!!

  5. Flowera says:

    my intentions are three-fold:
    to feel more of my feelings,
    to drink more tea + coffee,
    to see more movies.

    happy new year.

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One Day’s Wages

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Grateful. Still reflecting on the letters that I've received from classmates and students that have come before me and after me. Never imagined all that God would have in store for me. Lots of humbling things but in the midst of them, there were literally thousands upon thousands of daily decisions and choices to be faithful. That's what matters. Seen or unseen. Noticed or unnoticed. You do your best and sometimes you stumble and fumble along but nevertheless, seeking to be faithful.

Also, you know you're getting old when your school honors you with a Distinguished Alumni Award. Lol. 47 is the new 27. Or something like that. Here's to the next 47. In our culture, we can be so obsessed with the "spectacular" or "glamorous." The Church often engagws in thia language and paradigm...but what if God has called many of us to small, ordinary things?

Will we still be faithful?
Will we still go about such things with great love and joy?

I recently came across this picture taken by @mattylew, one of our church staff...and I started tearing up: This is my mother; in her 70s; with realities of some disabilities that make it difficult for her to stand up and sit down...but here she is on her knees and prostate in prayer. She doesn't have any social media accounts, barely knows how to use her smartphone, doesn't have a platform, hasn't written a book, doesn't have any titles in our church, isn't listed as a leader or an expert or a consultant or a guru. But she simply seeks to do her best - by God's grace - to be faithful to God. She prays for hours every day inteceding for our family, our church, and the larger world.

Even if we're not noticed or celebrated or elevated...let's be faithful. Our greatest calling as followers of Christ is to be faithful. Not spectacular. Not glamorous. Not popular. Not relevant. And not even successful in the eyes of the world.

Be faithful. Amen. #notetoself (and maybe helpful for someone else)

At times, we have to say ‘NO’ to good things to say ‘YES’ to the most important things.

We can't do it all.
Pray and choose wisely.
Then invest deeply. May our compassion not just be limited to the West or to those that look like us. Lifting up the people of Iraq, Iran, and Kurdistan in prayer after the 7.3 earthquake - including the many new friends I met on a recent trip to Iraq.

The death toll rises to over 400 and over 7,000 injured in multiple cities and hundreds of villages along the Western border with Iraq.

Lord, in your mercy... We are reminded again and again...that we are Resurrection People living in a Dark Friday world.

It's been a tough, emotional, and painful week - especially as we lament the horrible tragedy of the church shootings at Sutherland Springs. In the midst of this lament, I've been carried by the hope, beauty, and promise of our baptisms last Sunday and the raw and honest testimonies of God's mercy, love, and grace.

Indeed, God is not yet done. May we take heart for Christ has overcome the world. "Without genuine relationships with the poor, we rob them of their dignity and they become mere projects. And God did not intend for anyone to become our projects." Grateful this quote from my book, Overrated, is resonating with so many folks - individuals and  NGOs. / design by @preemptivelove

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