Modus Operandi

There was a cartoon several years ago in the Saturday Review of Literature in which little George Washington is standing with an axe in his hand. Before him, lying on the ground is the famous cherry tree. He has already made his smug admission that he did it—after all, he “cannot tell a lie.” But his father is standing there, exasperated saying, “All right, so you admit it! You always admit it! The question is when are you going to stop doing it.”

The father in that cartoon was exasperated because the necessary ingredient for George to change isn’t just admitting he did it.

After finishing the series on Twisted Games, I thought it important to look deeper at a change process which focuses on having a quality relationship with God, where we can experience our substance even in the face of disappointment or a profound sadness. What’s the modus operandi for something like that!?

Today I read a letter from the daughter of dear friends of ours who served in a summer campus outreach project in South Carolina. She was full of joy, humility, overwhelmed by God’s grace and love. So many good things were learned in her experience. At the end of the letter she said, “The Gospel really does change lives!

Well I’d like to address the how in that process. This series on modus operandi isn’t by any means going to be the final word, but I do have thoughts on it and as we walk down this trail, I’m looking forward to yours as well.

We’ll be traveling through the book of James as our reference point. And like the story on little George Washington, James is interested in more than just being sorry for sins. We’re going to a place where we discuss being sorry enough to quit.

I think Modus Operandi is an equivalent phrase to use for the word repentance, which is why I’ve entitled this series as such. So, to start this off, do you have thoughts on what you’d say to little George to head him into a new M.O.? 🙂

6 thoughts on “Modus Operandi

  1. Excellent Russ! You’ve dialed into George’s INFLATED thinking. AND potential “lickety-split” by using the confession as THE moment of change/repentance when it really isn’t. Loved the way you seemed to have alluded to this.

  2. “George, admitting you did it is great. Admitting why you did it, even better. When we admit to things, it doesn’t necessarily mean we are taking responsibility. If we get a pat on the back for not lying, we will just look for more pats on the back. How about we talk about why you did it?

  3. Question for George: George, what do you think will cause you to go beyond honesty to personal integrity? Unless behavior is integrated it is simply performance. Integrity demands an honest appraisal which leads to repentance. George, welcome to the maturation process.