Earlier this week, I read through the books of James, 1 Peter, and 2 Peter. I started reading and I just couldn't stop. The words I read confronted me with the truth of who I am in comparison to who God wants me to be. They paint a clear picture of the type of person a committed follower of Jesus will be... and I still have such a long way to go. They also paint a clear picture of the weight of Jesus' sacrifice. I can't get over the tragedy and beauty of innocent blood spilled-- God's blood spilled-- for me and the lousy things I have done and still do. Willingly, lovingly, purposefully, he did this for me.
And I take it for granted! I think when you've spent your lifetime in church, it can be far too easy for these ideas of sin, sacrifice, forgiveness, and grace to become... routine. I am guilty of becoming so accustomed to hearing about these things that I barely think about what they really mean. And at the same time, I become so comfortable with forgiveness and grace that sometimes I fail to take my own sin seriously.
Here is my truth: I am all too often enticed by desires that are not
reflective of Christ. I say and do things I shouldn't, and I don't do
things I know I should. I can be selfish, proud, and judgmental. A
hypocrite. I can speak beautiful words of faith, but too often my
actions don't reflect my words. And many times I don't take my own propensity for sin very seriously. I can too easily dismiss or rationalize my own sin. When I examine myself I find that sometimes I cling tightly to things I
should not, and am more grieved by the thought of letting them go than I
am by the depths of my own brokenness.
I am assured that I do not need to feel shame or fear, and that I can embrace God's forgiveness and grace. But at the same time, I am reminded not to take my propensity for sin lightly, and not to take God's grace for granted. I must take my brokenness seriously, just as Christ's death and resurrection are serious.
So far my journey through Lent has led me to a place of confession and repentance. I have come face to face with my brokenness and I no longer want to attempt to ignore it, justify it, or cover it up. Neither do I want to beat myself up emotionally over it. So I have spent a lot of time in prayer, telling God that I recognize my brokenness, and I want him to take it and turn it into something better. Something beautiful. Something I cannot create on my own.