Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Still Rationalizing After All These Years

I've finally figured out why I still sin.
I like it.

OK, some sins do revolt me but when I think about it, the sins I find disgusting are usually someone else's. When I take the unwelcome trouble of comparing my own thoughts, words, and actions against the two great measures God gave us--The Ten Commandments and the Beatitudes--the list of instances where I fall short is long. And when I take a good look at the list, most of the time I really wasn't aware that I was sinning at the time.

When I got mad, I thought my anger justified.
When I judged, I thought my judgement fair.
When I exaggerated, I thought it harmless.
When I bragged, I thought the self-praise well earned.
When I withheld help, I thought my caution prudent.
I didn't think my sin was sin. I thought I was being smart, careful, even discerning. 
I forgot that the life Christ requires is a life of abandon to Him, unmeasured love for Him, and humility before Him that takes no notice of me at all.

That's the problem. I keep remembering me, elevating me, comforting me.
I'm not supposed to do that. That's God's job--His promise, even. I am to remember and glorify God.

However, I usually want to take care of myself first. That's why I sin. I am not listening to God's perfect advice:
Love your neighbor as yourself.--Matthew 22:39
I will never hate myself. Not really. I will never forget myself. Not really. Well, I'm not supposed to do that to anyone else, either. But I do.

I hear a lot of religious-sounding flap about loving the sinner and hating the sin. Oh really? Am I prepared to do that toward myself? Is anyone?
I don't hate my sins. I excuse them, rationalize them, protect them. 
I have to be at least as ruthless with myself as I am with someone else.

Why do you worry about a speck of sawdust in your friend's eye when you have a log in your own?--Matthew 7:3
It's a wonder I can see at all. I must see and know God's genuine offense at what I have done. And it won't be pretty.

In order survive this look, however, I must first have a deep understanding that God loves me--that in His eyes, I am precious and renewed in His love day by day--and that He accomplishes this renewing as the Creator who made me with His own hands with full intent.  However, His love does not include prurient license. He, in His mercy, is perfecting me and in doing so, will not let me wallow in whatever pigpen I've chosen for myself.

Cleanse me with hyssop and I will be clean. Wash me and I will be whiter than snow.--Psalm 51:7

But in order to become clean, I must first admit that I am currently filthy. I must see my pigpen. And that part, if I am honest, is quite easy.


  1. JoAnne, I need to re-read this one... it steps on my self-righteous toes!
    Love you!

    1. Ouch. No kidding. Every day. Thanks, Janice.

  2. I was just reading an article that was along the same line as yours here...her example was that we are angry with the woman who selfishly has an abortion but our own selfishness is lived out on a smaller scale everyday and we don't see it.
    Thank you for this. Between the two articles I think I need to do a little soul searching and probably repentance.

    1. Ah, yes. The glorious freedom of repentance. Thanks so much.