son and I have been preaching for some weeks on my latest
book entitled Don't Throw
In my lifetime I can't tell you how many people I've seen
that throw their entire future away; good people, talented
people, gifted people, successful people because they
run into a problem, a frustration, or a personality relationship.
Those are the obvious reasons, but there is a deeper reason.
Many people throw away tomorrow because they haven't learned
how to live with the contradictions in everyday living.
This is one of the most significant chapters I've ever
written in almost forty books in my lifetime and in this
book, Don't Throw Away Tomorrow,
I'm dealing with the subjects that I haven't really
dealt with before, like contradictions and assumptions.
Life is filled with contradictions
this morning I'm going to give you my thoughts about contradictions.
I can't tell you how many people walk away from potentially
good ideas because they see there are some contradictions
in the dream and they don't want to be a part of it. Sometimes
that can be wise, surely on moral or ethics principles.
But all of life is full of contradictions, all the time.
Look at our society, we are free in America, but we still
have to live under law. We're not totally free. Or see
the contradiction of people who are so wealthy, successful
and honored, yet still feel something is missing and they're
unfulfilled. How do you account for it?
think of the contradictory orders that confuse us. We're
told to "take it easy" but also "get with
it." To "be serious" but also "relax!"
To "have fun" but also "be good!"
To "take a chance" but also "take care!"
We're asked, "When are you going to make up your
mind?" as often as we're advised, "Don't rush
our clichés are contradictory, "Strike while
the iron is hot." "Haste makes waste" íK
or "the early bird gets the worm." And then,
"Fools rush in where angels fear to tread."
are contradictions in the clashing colors of clothing;
in music (minors and majors, point and counterpoint);
in architecture (make it strong, don't make it heavy);
in physics, there are the contradictions (for every motion
an opposing motion). It is phenomenal. In religion, start
with Christianity íK the Bible is a contradiction (Old
Testament, law íK New Testament, grace). Justice and
mercy, that is the ultimate contradiction philosophically.
Jesus is a contradiction (truly man, truly divine).
that international politics is all about resolving contradictions.
Or see the contradictions in relationships between mates,
between spouses, between parents and children.
life is filled with contradictions.
You are a contradiction. So am I. We're made in the image
of God. He is a holy trinity, three persons in one God.
I am a trinity, three persons in one, Robert Schuller,
the brain that masters my thinking, the heart with its
feelings and emotions, and a nervous system. We are a
trinity, but we're an unholy trinity with a natural sin
that is reflected in the unresolved contradictions in
the single human personality. So how do we deal with these
1) Recognize life's contradictions
of all, recognize that you and I are contradictions. More
often than we are aware of negative things happen when
we don't recognize the contradictions that are in every
situation. Then we get frustrated. We get upset. And we
get angry with ourselves or with other people and become
depressed. Well, if we analyzed it, it's because there
are contradictions in our value system, or contradictions
in scheduling our time or contradictions in our relationships.
And there are some people who are very positive and other
people who are very negative, so we have contradicting
viewpoints. Don't become a negative reactionary, look
for the positive answers.
2) Resolve your contradictions positively
Spangler was a janitor. He had no education, but he could
sweep floors. So it was his job to keep the floors clean
in a huge building. When somebody made a mess, it was
his job to pick up the papers and pencils, etc. But how
do you pick up the little tiny scraps and the dust in
the carpet? Some people were just too messy and Murray
Spangler had had enough, he was going to quit. But he
didn't qualify for any other jobs other than being a janitor.
Then an idea hit him, "I wish I could suck up this
dirt." So he invented the first vacuum cleaner and
delivered it to a company called Hoover and we all know
about the Hoover vacuum cleaner. Thank you, Murray Spangler.
of the favorite men in my lifetime has been Albert Schweitzer
whom I never met in person, but I'm proud to have an autographed
copy of his autobiography. Albert Schweitzer is well known
for his work in Africa where he built a hospital in the
jungle and taught the natives. He was teaching them to
read and one day Schweitzer said to one of his students,
"Can you help me a minute? I'd like you to help carry
some of this wood." And the student looked up and
said, "Well I'd like to sir, but I'm a dignified
person now. I'm an intellectual. I'm a scholar. I'm learning
to read." And Schweitzer looked at him and said,
"Congratulations. I always wanted to be an intellectual
but I never quite made it. I'll carry the wood."
And Schweitzer carried the wood.
is the world we live in filled with contradictions. How
do you handle them? First of all, recognize life's
contradictions. You have them. So do I. Look at the deeper
level of your intimate human behavior, more honestly than
you've ever dared to look at before, and there you'll
find contradictions. Recognize them, then think bigger,
think more beautifully.
3) Let go of life's insignificant contradictions
always have family Easter breakfast together. The kids
and the grandkids come to our house and today if all can
be there, we count thirty people. Our family gets bigger
with the grandchildren now getting married. For many years,
our Easter breakfast takes place on Saturday morning,
because we are always at church very early for our Easter
Services beginning at Sunrise and on through the day.
So on the Saturday before Easter we always have fun. When
the children and grandchildren were little, Mrs. Schuller
would hide little Easter eggs around the house and then
in the trees and the garden. One Easter a few years ago,
when David was just a toddler we didn't let him go outdoors.
Instead, we hid some Easter eggs inside. So little David
was having fun looking all around the house. Suddenly,
I noticed he had in his hands, a China pitcher, very small,
that I bought in Germany and gave to Arvella for her birthday.
He was holding it as he stood on the marble hearth of
our fireplace. It looked like he would drop it at any
minute. Then it would be shattered.
I quickly said, "Here, David, give Grandpa the pitcher."
He said, "No." "Please. David," and
I reached for it and tried to take it. He said, "No,
it's mine." So I decided to pull rank and I pulled
it. Guess what? I couldn't get it loose. His hand was
stuck inside. I wondered how could his little hand be
stuck inside? Then I could see that he was holding onto
a candy Easter egg. I said, "David, let it go. Let
your egg go and give it to me." "No!" He
didn't want to let it go. He said, "My egg."
Think íK Think! Think fast! So I went and got
a bigger Easter egg. I said to David, "Look at this
big Easter egg. Do you want it?" He looked at mine
and immediately he let the egg go and I quickly grabbed
hold of the pitcher and saved the day. We all need to
let go of our contradictions and think bigger, think more
beautifully. Think more positively.
Do you have contradictions about God?
know, I meet too many people throughout my life who don't
want to believe in God because they say there are too
many contradictions. They say, "Don't ask me to believe
in something where I can see obvious contradictions."
Now that is a foolish way of thinking. Because almost
every time we make a decision we use assumptions that
oftentimes deal with contradictions. Don't turn away a
good idea because you see contradictions.
am reminded of Czeslaw Milosz, the Nobel Prize winning
poet born in Lithuania. He lived and suffered under Nazi
occupation in World War II. Then the Soviets came and
took over and he lived under the Soviet occupation. He
was a great poet who saw great suffering and he faced
a terrible contradiction. How
could he believe in a good and just God, when there was
so much suffering and horror and tragedy in this world?
How could a just and good God have created a world filled
even with a possibility of cruelty and torture? And then
he was influenced by the famous French wartime philosopher,
Simone Weil, who taught him this rationale, "The
world is so full of horror and hell and evil, that there
must be somewhere the opposite force of goodness and truth.
That means somewhere God must be." That settled it
for him. The contradiction was now behind him. He became
a believer in the God of love and he saw how this God
of love was helping people to reach out to help other
hurting people in a community of love and goodness.
ago I wrote a line in one of the books, on this same issue
I wrote, "There can be
no shadows unless there is a sun." When
you see evil, there has to be a positive God or you wouldn't
see the evil. You wouldn't know what bad is 'til you saw
goodness. "Yes" has no meaning without a "no."
Integrity is always affirmed in a dialectic, that's the
philosophical summary. There is a God of love, be sure
The ultimate contradiction was resolved on the cross
when you face the contradictions in life, you recognize
and resolve them. The ultimate contradiction comes on
Good Friday, because you see the ultimate contradiction
is when death contradicts life. Which is true? Which is
the ultimate? Death or life? Jesus gave us the answer.
He showed us how to resolve this contradiction.
the cross resolves the ultimate contradiction between
justice and mercy, between punitive behavior and forgiveness,
between law and grace, between death and life. The soldier
looked at Jesus Christ hanging on the cross and declared
this contradiction: "He saved others. He cannot save Himself."
(Luke 23:35) And that's the truth. Jesus Christ could
not save others because He chose to save Himself. Think
about that! That is life!
Every end is a new beginning
we learn at Easter is that every end always introduces a new beginning. It is true for you and me. At birth, it is the end
of living in a womb. When we became toddlers we learned
to walk. That is the end of toddling and the beginning
of walking. Then comes adolescence, a tough time in life
because adolescence is dealing with the contradictions
between wanting to be a child, but yet wanting to be an
adult. It is an emotional contradiction internally. You
want to be independent, yet you need your dad and mom
and you need the house. Which way do you go? Every
end is a new beginning.
And every new beginning is progress. In nature the blossoms
fall and seeds multiply. And so Jesus died on a cross
but He lives eternally. Wow. We say we live in the land
of the living. That's not true. All of us live in the
land of the dying. But, when we die, that's a new beginning
and it's the beginning of the life of living eternally!
And when we breathe our last breath, and our heart stops
beating, something happens and it is real. The soul still
lives and we experience Eternity. Death is a new beginning
and it is the beginning of the life of living Eternally!
Christ said, "I am the resurrection and the life and whoever lives
and believes in Me shall never die." (John
11:25-26) That's the Gospel! That's the Good News! That's