Monday, May 16, 2005

A Real Good Thing

Before I get to the meat of this, I need to get something out of the way:

This is a blanket apology to all the people I've taunted about watching Survivor over the years... because after watching this season, I think I'm beginning to understand the fascination. Sorry I was such a snob and that you got to bear the brunt of that. (Yes, Liesl, esp. you!)

OK, with that taken care of...

It's been an amazing (pun intended) week out in the land of reality television. First, Uchenna & Joyce beat Rob & Amber and the bickering Ron & Kelly to win the Amazing Race 7. (Unwanted suggestion: Kelly, you may be sad about the relationship not going to the level you wanted it to... but I think you'll look back on this in 20 years and realize that was a good thing!) Uchenna & Joyce were kind to each other, kind to the other teams in the race, and genuinely enjoyed their contact with other cultures.

Then, last night, Tom Westman won Survivor: Palau... despite actually being the strongest player in the game! (Survivor has had a tendency to reward weaker players down near the end as the stronger players get voted out because they are threats.) Moreover, he won the game by being himself - for the most part, behaving honorably and keeping a healthy distance between game & friendship. (Even more amazing: Ian's choice to put friendship & honor over a million bucks... very cool. I realize some folks think he got "island fever" and was emotionally blackmailed into it. I'm not buying. I understand in the core of my being wanting to be a man of integrity and not knowing how to buy that back.)

Anyway, the phrase that jumped to my mind with both of these winners is that "they deserved it." Which, if I'm honest, is code for "I liked them and they played fair."

Here's the deal, though. We live here in America in a society that is constantly judging whether we deserve any number of things: better pay, social acceptance, being picked for the team, personal recognition, etc. We may (may? heck, we do!) disagree on the filters used to judge who is deserving, but the vast majority of us work the process like crazy.

Thankfully, God doesn't play that game... mercy & grace are based not on how good we are, or how good we can be, or how good we promise to be, but on how good He is.

When we don't get what we deserve

It's a real good thing

When we get what we don't deserve

It's a real good thing

Born to sin

And then get caught

All our good deeds

Don't mean squat

Sell the Volvo

Shred the Visa

Send the cash to Ma Teresa

Great idea

The only catch is

You don't get saved

On merit badges

When we don't get what we deserve...

Doctor's coming

Looking grim

"Do you have a favorite hymn?"

Check your balance through the years

All accounts are in arrears

Guilt is bitter

Grace is sweet

Park it here

On the mercy seat

When we don't get what we deserve...

"It's A Real Good Thing" - Recorded by The Newsboys. Lyrics by Steve Taylor and Peter Furler

Congrats, Tom. Thanks, Jesus.

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