son and I have been preaching for some weeks on my latest
book entitled Don't Throw Away
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
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 into it."
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 many contradictions?
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
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
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
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
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 of
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