Knowing My Own Sin
I am the worst person I know. I know this because I know myself and I don’t really know anyone else. Not really. I wander the earth confused like those neighbors of serial killers:
“Well that is surprising, I thought he was a nice young man.”
That’s always my reaction to exposed sin in others: surprise. I am, though, never surprised at my own sin; we’ve become quite familiar with one another over the years. He is always close at hand, ready and willing to act, think, and speak his nature. And that’s discouraging. That is, it’s discouraging when I’m sinful and I forget to remember the promises that God has given to me. To you. To us all, His people, His church.
God has promised to sanctify us, to make us holy and to use the Holy Spirit. And God has promised in Philippians 1:6 to finish this work: “He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ.” God gives the promise and gives us a helper to fulfill that promise. So then why are we walking around like sad little Charlie Browns?
Take my situation at the moment. I have three little children and two dogs. Depending on how you do the math, that’s either five small children or five little beasts living in my house. They create about the same messes, noises and obey at about the same rate. Well actually the dogs are a bit more obedient.
I’m a rough rock that has been thrown into a river and I’m just getting pounded on by the rushing stream. Junior throws his dinner onto the floor where the dogs immediately lap it up and “bam!” my rock takes a direct hit and a chunk flies off. Thing One takes a bit of food off of Thing Two’s plate and there is screaming, “zonk!” a tidal wave hits my broadside. Thing Two now refuses to eat, “whamo!” And I get frustrated and a little fussy.
“Didn’t we talk about this already? I thought the whole issue of treating your sister well and obeying your parents has been thoroughly discussed; why are we needing to address this again? I can get the minutes of the meeting for you where we all agreed to behave.” And that’s just one meal. And you know exactly what I’m talking about.
What I see as upsetting episodes and unnecessary drama in my home, hour after hour, day after day, God sees as me as a husband and a father being polished, being made smoother, being refined, being sanctified. He’s giving me exercises for my soul.
Being Less of a Jerk
I fail to see it because I’m concentrating on my failures. But the reality is that my failures today are fewer than my failures last week. I get angered less often, my patience is growing longer, my short fuse is lengthening and so on. I’m a better husband today than I’ve ever been if only because eight years of marriage has shown me, in the teary reflection of my wife’s eyes, just what a jerk I can be.
If I pause and take a few moments to reflect I can remember a time not too far back and with fewer household issues that I was a much worse person to be around.
“Faith is the evidence of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1b) and that’s what we need to rely upon when we feel we are under water. We can’t really see it but it’s that water that’s pounding us that is doing the work of sanctification upon our souls, slowly perhaps, painfully, certainly.
Believe it, forget it, repent of that, believe again. God is completing his work in you and in me and it’s a joy to behold if we can just get our heads and hearts around accepting and embracing and holding near the amazing, heart-warming, life-giving promises of God.