Friday, April 01, 2011

We Are Not As Sophisticated As We Think

How many times have you heard someone say, "I don't know what upsets me more, __________ or the fact that it bothers me so much?"

I found myself saying that to myself this morning. Here are a few examples (and, see yesterday's post!):
"I don't know what bothers me more, the fact that I have this baby weight, or the fact that the weight issue bothers me so much."

"I don't know what bothers me more, my messy house, or the fact that having such a messy house bothers me so much."

"I don't know what bothers me more, the poor grade, or the fact that the poor grade bothers me so much."
Here's what's bothering us: the fact that our mind is dwelling on these things reveals to us our imperfections. Each flaw is like a festering wound; it's bad enough that it's there, but then it sits there reminding us of its existence and it just won't go away.

And we are surprised.

We are very good at convincing ourselves that we are better than we are. I don't realize that I am full of vanity until I have a muffin top. So it's not just the muffin top that I have to deal with, it's the vanity that snuck in there, too. I don't realize that I need to wrestle with such pride until I welcome people into a home that it obviously a disaster. I don't realize that I'm insecure and jealous until I experience irrepressible curiosity about a significant other's ex.

I thought I was better than that; being bothered means that I'm not.

In his little booklet, "I Just Can't Forgive Myself," Bob Jones makes the observation that such a statement betrays the same kind of moral hubris. I wish I could find my copy of the booklet because he says it so succinctly. But the basic gist is that when we say "I can't believe I did that," we are placing ourselves above certain sins, as though we are too good to succumb to ______. This a) makes us vulnerable to that very sin because we are not guarding our hearts and our minds, and b) minimizes the power of the remaining sin in our lives. Are you really too good to commit a particular sin? Beware the deceitfulness of such a posture, and go on a (devastating) mission to understand even a fraction of the depth of your depravity.

[The booklet goes on to discuss what we are saying about The Cross when we say "I can't forgive myself" -- essentially that we are more powerful judges than God, who declared that The Cross was sufficient ... but that's a post for another day when I can find the booklet.]

Be bothered, and then get to the root of it.

As Jack Miller used to say, "Cheer up! You're worse than you think!" Only when we realize the depth of our sin will we recognize how great is our Savior.

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