I’m having a hard time not obsessing over myself right now. I did something wrong and I want to make amends for it. I want to somehow cancel it out. I really want, more than anything, to forget it happened. I talked to God about it before I went to bed. He knew my heart–how I was sorry and wanted Him to change my heart that I might not sin in this way again. But He also knew the fears that I had regarding the future of my relationship with the person I sinned against. He knew I needed peace–to be reminded of the gospel–before I could ever move on and experience renewed growth.
He told me All is right with you, meaning that He has already forgiven my sins at the cross and there claimed the power to give me the victory over them. He was instructing me to let go of the guilt I was vainly using to scourge myself. The truth that I most needed right then–and He provided–is that Christ is the only one who can reconcile my defiled deeds. I, the defiled and defiling one, can never truly make amends for my offenses to Him or other people. He had to make amends on my behalf.
I think, as liberating as that is, it’s a hard truth to accept. How can it really not be more about me? I wonder. I’m grateful that God’s intervention would offer me hope, but in some ways I’m unwilling to fully receive it. If I do, I’m saying that my actions–even my misdemeanors–are not final; they are not complete. God’s actions can still trump them. My pride finds that irreconcilable with my Elaine-centered theology. The real problem is that I don’t want my theology to be changed so that I can better agree with the truth of God’s Word. I want the two of them to sort of coexist. I don’t want to let go of my truth to accept God’s truth.
What I’m really saying here is that I will live with the discomfort that my theology occasionally gives me when it is challenged by God’s theology. I will stick with it to the end because it gives me a sense of power that I cannot deny. In fact, I know that God’s theology does not offer me the same power. Yes, it calls me a person of dignity and free will, but it does not apply to my fleshly longings for me-centric power. Rather, the power it recognizes in me ultimately affirms God and His sovereign power over me. What power I do have comes from Him. While there is some glory in what God has given me, I don’t like not being left on top. I want to be revered as the sole hinge on which the universe swings.
I’ve been realizing, as I think this through, that from God’s end, my chief sin is not the actions I committed against that person yesterday, but the inclination of my spirit towards Him that He is exposing today. My resistance of His dominant glory is the real part of me that needs to be changed. This is the area that He draws my attention to because this is the area of my heart that I least want to acknowledge. More than a wrong action, it convicts me of sin in a way that identifies my whole person in the wrong. I may want Him to change my behavior, but I really don’t want Him to have anything to do with this part of me. Therefore, I want Him to be lenient–that is, agreeably tolerant of the sin He would address in my heart. I want Him to make allowance for the fact that this is just the way I am.
I guess this is a prime example of how sin is not neutral and we cannot be neutral about it either. If I am to agree with God that my sin needs to go, I must agree with Him all the way. I cannot just say with my lips a confession that amounts to Oh I’m such a sinner. Yes, isn’t it terrible? If bemoaning my sin is only as far as I get in the adjustment process, then I must make every effort to cease bemoaning what I’ve seen of my sin, in order to act rightly about it. I must acknowledge it and confess it. I must thank God for the forgiveness He granted at the cross and ask for the grace to live worthy of such a gift. I must see in myself the root of selfishness that wants all attention focused on me, even if it is negative. I must not let this turn spirituality into a mockery of the Savior who bought the pardon for my sin. Then I must use my will to set my thoughts on Christ and exalt Him and His glories instead of setting my thoughts on myself and exalting in the glories I have relative to self.
Only by thinking of Christ first will I be able to turn from thinking of myself. It is when He becomes the constant object of my thoughts that I do not sin in the way I focus. When I am directionally righteous, the actions I take follow. Therefore, God, have all of me while I endeavor to have all of You. I don’t want to stop at passively being pulled in to thinking of my errors or my victories again and again. Humility does not have its completion in studying the damages report of my latest sin; rather, it is summed up when I confess my sin and then turn from it to You, the only One I trust to deliver me from it. Then I exalt You because I know Your power has always been greater than both my sin and my righteousness. That is when my thoughts are in the right place.