Monday, May 2, 2011

In a Word

I sin. I believe I sin every day. The commandments, "You shall have no other gods before me, You shall not make idols, You shall not take the name of the Lord in vain, Remember the Sabbath Day and keep it holy, Honor your father and mother, You shall not commit murder or adultery, steal, bear false witness, covet"(Exodus 5) convince me easily enough of that, but then the New Testament brings additional conviction. "Greed amounts to idolatry." (Colossians 3:5) " Everyone who looks at a woman with lust has already committed adultery with her in his heart." (Matthew 5:28) "Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer." (1John 3:15)

I'm a human being. Although I am supposed to care first for You, I don't. Welcome to my world: Me front and center. My world. My life. My desires. My pleasures. As long as I cling to them, all I get is them. A life that builds up myself but leaves the destruction of the people I love in its wake. Satisfied desires that eventually collapse upon themselves into dust. Pleasures that bloom for a moment, but wilt and rot way too soon.

I've learned to recognize the danger zone--that quick vitality of wanting, that surge of adrenalin that says, This time it will work. This will be fun. This will make me happy or easy or beautiful. That point is the recognition of temptation. If I don't run away screaming, closing my eyes and ears and mouth, binding my hands from action and my mind from imagination, that is the moment sin begins.

There is only one cure. Recognition of sin is not enough, not nearly enough. I must experience hurt, that is, real damage to my own pride and ego. Then I must finally see the horror that is my sin in Your eyes. I must understand sin's gravity and humiliate myself before You. I have to shed desire and pride like the rags they are and stand uncovered before You. Only after I am humiliated can I achieve humility. Humiliation signals the end of myself. Humility brings me properly before You.

Hurt followed by horror. Humiliation followed by humility. Not pretty thoughts to have on a beautiful, sunny morning. When I think about the sure struggle against sin that is before me, though, I remember that you have promised to help, to wait, and to catch me before I am ruined. You have done it already, more times than I can count. You will do it today because You never fail. So I cast myself into Your lap today, the only place of rest I know.

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