I’m definitely not the one in the wrong here!

Something bothers me…I don’t like getting called out for doing things wrong. I’m just really not comfortable with it. I think I should never do things wrong. I should never get punished and I should never need mercy. What I should need is congratulations for doing such a good job at life!

I know you’re thinking that sounds like I have a very serious case of self-inflation. You would be right. The only way I know how to deal with that is to confess my sin when the Holy Spirit brings it to mind and make no attempt to try to cover it up or deny its existence.

I’m not getting anywhere by doing that. Confrontation is my only hope. And confrontation is not a miserable, penalty-inflicting thing because Christ already confronted the ultimate misery of my sin. He took away the penalty and bestowed on me His victory over it. But I can only live as though this is real when I live my life in the manner Christ has set out for me. I do not pretend sin is not a reality for me because this would be a denial of what Christ has done for me. If sin is not a reality for me than it should not have been a reality for Christ and His sacrifice must mean nothing.

But I choose, instead, to face my sin in all its ugliness because recognizing it does not change my position with Christ. My own righteousness need no longer be upheld–indeed, it can not be upheld–since Christ’s righteous alone makes me acceptable before God. I abandon all hopes of building my self-esteem on the merits of self; I build it on He who created me and chose to show His esteem for His child at Calvary.

I am the worst thing to hit relationships since…(well, you get the idea!)

My plans for making relationships work don’t always work. Worse than that, sometimes I have the painful realization that I am the problem; I am the reason things don’t go as smoothly as I’d like. I somehow just don’t “gel” with other people as well as I’d like.

(Surprise!)

Do you ever have that problem–people and their problems turn out to be not your only problem?

(Yeah, it’s really a shame isn’t it? I mean, what a self-esteem reducer, right?)

It not only stinks to discover this about yourself, it is disconcerting that others see it too– and probably much clearer than you! The first thought that usually comes to mind after this revelation is: Why don’t I just quit relationships altogether? If I’m no good at them, I’m obviously not cut out for them. Right?

Wrong. You are designed for them, but since your design has been made backwards and crooked by sin, you are going to need a lot of adjustment before you work well in relationships. But, this is no cause for being discouraged. You have hope because God is rescuing your design as we speak!

It is impossible for God not to restore people who come, broken, to the cross. The matter is only waiting for your cry for help. No, not a call for back-up as you attack the problem yourself. Nor a solicitation of support that will keep in motion your preconceived notions about life. Instead, this is none other than a desperate willingness to change directions. It is choosing to look from us to Him and to receive all that He gives as grace.

Then, relationships aren’t so hard because you neither have to be perfect to hold them together or pretend you’re perfect to keep from admitting you’re not. The matter is settled: If this is going to work out, if we’re going to be any benefit to others at all, it’s definitely going to grace.

There’s no other explanation for how people can find it possible to be united with one another. You have that as a possibility, so do I, but we have to welcome in the One who makes Possible at home in us.