This week/weekend we have had Greg’s parents in town. We are thrilled that they came because it is a rare occurence. We usually travel there, so most of our lives here are foreign concepts to them. They came to church yesterday to hear Greg speak–and this was a really big deal. We also got to celebrate Mother’s Day with his mom. Most of all, we ate…and I still feel sick. It was like we were storing up to hibernate for the summer. The visit has been fun and exhausting all at the same time.
What I have seen most of all is my propensity for sin deep within my heart. I was worried about my house and cooking and making sure they were not miserable. My prayer beforehand was that I be me no matter what…trusting God and loving Him and loving them. When I am nervous or feel I have something to prove, I revert to people pleasing and trying to be self-righteous, and that is a real laugh. I hate seeing this part of me. The very moment I want to be a beacon for Christ of love and grace I try to “be good” instead of relying on Him. I forget the very truth of the gospel. It is not good–I see in it my total depravity–TOTAL.
On Saturday, I stole away to my favorite place…the hammock. Under a canopy of trees, I prayed and was reminded of God’s deep grace and truth. I was made more aware of some areas of sin, and I was encouraged in the truth of the forgiveness in Him. In reflection, I remembered the chapters of “Respectable Sins” that I had read earlier in the week. The chapters were on impatience, irritability, anger and the weeds of anger. These all tied together because in each of them we can easily place the blame on others…”that driver made me lose my temper,” “you don’t understand my mom/husband/child/boss, they treat me wretchedly,” “I was treated this way as a child..it is not fair”, etc. Bridges so truthfully points out that no matter what is done to us, our reaction of impatience, irritability, anger, etc has to do with the sin within us. We are not justified to be sinful because another has been sinful. This is the hardest vice grip to be in. I am so quick to blame and justify and try to look the good part, but that is my sin exploding out. In the chapters, he pointed out that even in holding our tongue in certain situations we sin inwardly. What I liked and hated all at the same time about these chapters was the teaching and reminder that it is not as easy as placing blame on someone for my reaction. It takes me back to remembering the log in my own eye.
Growing in Christlikeness is a total transformation. We will never arrive here on this earth, but in surrender and trust, there will be growth. One of my favorite passages is John 15 about the Vine and the branches. I am reminded time and time and time again that apart from Him I can do nothing. I need to be connected to the Vine (Christ) for strength and relationship and sustenance and transformation. I am fulfilled in HIm. I am whole in Him. That time with Him brings praise and peace in my heart as I come to know Him. The good thing about seeing the total depth of my sin is that I get to praise the total height and breadth of who He is. He is good, and I desperately want Him and need Him.