Do I believe what God says about me?
I’ve recently been asked that question from two angles.
The first was a sermon on Palm Sunday. Our Pastor asked “do you know what God thinks of your sin?” – long pause -- “Look at the cross.”
Seriously, do I believe that God has such abomination and hatred towards my sin? That he would send his own Son to die because of my sin?
TBH – no, I don’t. I don’t lie on my taxes (just finished ‘em, didn’t lie), haven’t killed anyone, there are tons of atrocious things I haven’t done. I think of myself as a sort-of-okay-more-than-okay person. I’ve been given a ton in this world – good parents, a good education, I’ve worked hard to turn those things into good work opportunities. I strive to be kind to those around me, generous with my resources, etc. etc.
See? Aren’t I a good person?
So do I believe God when He tells me that I’m sinful? When the Bible says in Proverbs 22:15 that “Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child.” Or where Genesis 8:21 states that “. . . the intent of man’s heart is evil from his youth.”
I don’t actually believe that about me. I might see that sinfulness in my own children (although I have a hard time calling them evil, I just see it as human nature. But I guess that’s the point – human nature is self-interested).
So unless I’ve recently caught myself in some sin (being petulant with my children or my husband, being unkind to someone just because I feel wronged, etc), I don’t actually believe God that I’m sinful.
But then when I do start to believe I’m sinful, do I believe what God says about me?
Again… no, I don’t.
So let’s go back to that example of being petulant with my husband or my children. I start to realize I’m sinful, and then for much of my life, I’ve let that become all about me. I get mired in my sin. I feel so bad about it. In the last few years, I’ve seen growth in realizing that the point of recognizing sin is not for me to feel bad about it, or to make others be consumed with how bad I feel (instead of that I’ve wronged them). But the point of realizing you’re sinful is to repent.
To change your behavior. Not to wallow in it. Not to pretend it isn’t there.
So, I try to repent.
But do I believe what God says about me then?
That I am forgiven? (1 John 1:9) Well -see above, where most of the time I don’t even believe that I have much to be forgiven for, and then further down where if I do think I need to be forgiven I start to think I’m horrible.
That I am loved? (1 John 3:1-2) Maybe I believe that. In a distant “I gave you with a lot of resources and trust you can take care of yourself now” kind of way. Oh, and many times I believe He loves me because I’m that “sort-of-okay-more-than-okay” person, so of course I should have some of His love.
Accepted? (Romans 15:7) Only in that I do enough to be accepted. Not because I’m accepted on the grounds of Christ.
That I am beautiful? How can I be both full of ugly sin and beautiful? But I guess there’s the truth – that in and of ourselves, we are self-interested, and in Christ, we take on His identity. As beautiful and whole… But do I believe that?
Again – no.
I’m realizing I have a lot more to learn about God, to trust what He says of me is true – both the sinful and the gloriously accepted parts…
PS – as I proof read this, I’m thinking about the taxes thing… really? Were ALL of those lunches really, truly business expenses? And I’m just telling myself it’s okay because it’s such a small amount. Yikes. Let’s revisit that sin thing…