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Friday, April 29, 2016

Guilty




Matthew 7:1-5, "Do not judge, or you too will be judged.  For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.  Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?  How can you say to your brother, 'Let me take the speck out of your eye,' when all the time there is a plank in your own eye?  You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye" (NIV).

This is exactly what I needed to read, today.  Don't misunderstand.  I absolutely hate that this is exactly what I needed to read, but here it is.

Taking my own advice is difficult.  It is so much easier to tell other people how they should change than to think about how every single word I say might also apply to me... to my life... to my sin.  To be completely honest, I am a little bit at war with myself.  I'm not exactly sure why I think that I can handle tempting situations better than anyone else.  I am feeling a little bit frustrated that I don't like my advice to others, applied to me, because it is difficult and irritating and if I follow it I can't do whatever I want, whenever I want, and y'all know how I hate that.

The problem with feeling like this is that Jesus has a word for it that I think I hate more: hypocrite.

Ouch.

And... ouch.

And... maybe even ouch again.

Thankfully, God is so much better than me. (Duh, I know, but sometimes it's important to just say it.)

Psalm 106:43-45, "Many times he delivered them, but they were bent on rebellion and they wasted away in their sin.  Yet he took note of their distress when he heard their cry; for their sake he remembered his covenant and out of his great love he relented" (NIV).

I love that God remembers covenant and relents.  I think I have often considered the word, "relentless" to be something positive, but when I took a look at the actual definition; I stopped liking it, immediately.  I thought to be relentless was to be determined, to never give up.  As it turns out, relentless is to be oppressive, harsh, and inflexible.  Sometimes simply defining terms helps us to understand what we really want. 

I do not want a relentless God.

I do not want a relentless me.

I thought to relent meant to be weak.  It does not.  I thought to relent meant to give up.  And it does.  But it's vitally important to understand that to relent means to give up everything I don't want to be to anyone, anyway.  It is to give up oppressive control, cruelty, or punishment.

Oh goodness, I relent!

Out of love, I relent!

I am so thankful that God is patient, over and over again, and that God hears our cries (my cries) and takes note of distress.  Because here's the truth, friends.  Sometimes we really screw up.  And yet God's covenant stands.  Deliverance comes.  And we can stop wasting away.

L.

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