Hello, all! Our beloved S4J has a really nasty cold and her hand is still healing- she asked me to come on over here and post a guest blog to chat with ya'll about a conversation she and I had the other day over the phone.
If she were to tell this tale, she'd likely tell it with music or pictures, both artistic mediums that she uses skillfully, but I can do neither of those things. For over 20 years, she has been the melody in our friendship, singing the soundtrack and holding my hand for just about every major life event I can think of- high school graduation, my wedding, the births of my children... and nearly every "small" event too- nervous breakdowns, crises of faith, burnt dinners. We have honest, raw, silly, hysterical, logical, weepy, giggly, smart, stupid, deeply spiritual conversations pretty much every single day for longer than I can remember. As for me? Well, I'm not the singer or the photographer, but I have always loved that I have the privilege of humming along... even if I'm out of tune.
So anyway, back to the phone conversation we were having this week. We were talking about that verse in Romans...
And I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. I want to do what is right, but I can’t. I want to do what is good, but I don’t. I don’t want to do what is wrong, but I do it anyway.
... how true that is for S4J and I. We talked about how she willingly held adorable twins this week with her crippled-from-fresh-surgery-hand knowing full well that she shouldn't . We talked about how often I wake up and turn on my computer before I do my quiet time with Jesus, even though I know if I do, I won't find the time to sit with Him before the end of the day.
We discussed our stupid, selfish natures, disappointed with ourselves when we behave as though we haven't already learned what's best for ourselves- physically, spiritually, emotionally. It's bad enough when we discover something new, but it's just frustrating when we do something ridiculous and we know better.
Why, why, why do we keep doing stupid things when we know we should not? Why do we keep not doing what we know we should do? It's simple; because we are sinners. We're sinners in need of a Savior. Since the beginning of sin, we've delighted in things that are bad for us and complained about things that are good for us.
I find much comfort in Romans chapter 8 in which Paul talks about this same topic with his friends. He points out that while we sin because we're sinners, there is no condemnation in Christ Jesus, that we are no longer bound to sin and we are not slaves to it. There's so much comfort in realizing that the Bible is filled to the brim with humans who fell short all the time- even in Paul’s day… even Paul! There's peace in knowing that we have Jesus Christ who did what we are just not able to do... live a sinless life.
So, what's the point of realizing that we've messed up? That we mess up a lot? That we shall certainly mess up much more in the future? Well, I think there are a few things that can happen (and none of them involve giving up or feeling guilty) :
First: Recognizing when we sin against our better judgment can give us inspiration to improve. That awful feeling of being wrong can be used to motivate us into not behaving that way again if we don't sweep it under the carpet or let it paralyze us.
Second: It can make us appreciate our salvation. That Christ would die for us KNOWING that we would continue sinning is an absolute miracle. Seeing ourselves for what we are should give us a fresh gratitude for His sacrifice.
Third: It can cause us to give more grace to others. We can remember that even well-meaning people do things they don't want to do. Sometimes people who don't mean to hurt us know they should do things but don't. Realizing we do this too should make us kinder and more patient. You know, that whole... to whom much is given much is expected thing. We can’t expect from others what we are unable to accomplish ourselves, can we?
All in all, we just want to encourage you all to keep plugging forward. Don’t get discouraged that you’ve done dumb things. You sin because you are a sinner. That’s no surprise. The miracle is when we break from our sinful nature and do the right thing. And to get a miracle, there’s only one direct route… through Jesus. The only defense… and what a marvelous one it is… is to put our trust in Him. We have to trust God to provide everything we need to resist the ‘shoulds’ and ‘certainly should nots’- and when he provides what we need, (self control, patience, kindness) we need to actually use those tools. That way, hopefully, our regrets will decrease and our victories will increase…all for His glory!
Please join me in praying for an extra dose of those tools for S4J, as she struggles with being both invalid and infirm. Thank you for letting me hijack S4J’s spot. Hopefully, she’ll be back and making the blogosphere more beautiful and melodic soon.