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Black

Excuses

Had to fight the urge to justify myself this morning, under the guise of "explaining" and "clarifying." Ultimately I couldn't kid myself about what I was about to do, so I backed off. It was really about me, and about not finding complete justification and security in my identity in Christ. That's such a huge temptation for me, and it gives rise to so much sin in my life. Does what I'm doing/thinking/about to do make sense if God is who He says He is? In other words, do I believe?

This is giving me a lot of trouble relationally, too. Truth is, I think there are a lot of people who claim Christ and Christianity for comfort, but don't really believe. I wonder if I should have more compassion for thoughts and behaviors in others that honestly just creep me out. I'm completely stunned by the breadth of things professing Christians believe are somehow OK. I screw up, constantly. But on the whole, I don't think I'm pretending that my sin is not sin.

The underlying justification for the kind of garbage I'm thinking about? "It makes me feel good/valued/loved." In other words, I get my fix of what I want. Jesus is just another fix and has no authority in my life. I do what I need to do to feel what I want to feel. I don't believe God is who He says He is, even though I can't give up my lip service of believing in Him (because I want to feel what that makes me feel, too). I don't think He'll come through in my life, so I've got my own plan, or I'll make one up as I go along, and I'll sprinkle Him on top like seasoning. To my taste.

I'm both repulsed and convicted.

Comments

I don't think it's wrong to clarify if you think people (me *smiles*) misunderstood you. I've told you before that I fight the same battle... wanting to be clearly comprehended, sometimes to my demise. I think I'm bothered more when people throw balance out of the window. There are times (especially over the internet) when we just don't get our point across as clearly as we'd like... I'd rather have a friend tell me that I didn't "get it" rather than be frustrated with me for seeing something that wasn't intended to be seen and choose NOT to clarify because their attitude isn't 100% pure. The sin stuggle in that instance isn't just with wanting to be right or justified, but also with harboring ill feelings toward the one who didn't interpret your words correctly. Personally, I'd rather my relationships be maintained.

But if what you said was understood and just not agreed with... don't be mad. I'm not. I'm very capeable of reading journals, disagreeing, typing out my side, and moving on. It's not a big deal. We are different people living in vastly different parts of the same country. We will be divided on issues left and right (no pun intended) because of our experiences & environment... it's not our thoughts on a topic that matter so much... it's how we discuss them with each other. Is there love? I've seen nothing BUT that from you, even when I don't agree with what you're saying. Seriously.

Of course, if my comment here has ABSOLUTELY nothing to do with your post, then you can just ignore me... everyone else does. :)
No worries, no bad feelings, and I'm very OK disagreeing. I was tempted to continue to engage comments, but after I typed, I realized that 1) I've already been clear, regardless of how it was understood, and was simply repeating myself, and 2) there wasn't anything broken in the relationship that needed attention. So the best I could do is somehow justify myself (which I need to accept has been done!), and the worst that could happen would be to strain a relationship that's currently good. There wasn't anything to heal/restore/forgive, just something nagging in me that said, "I must be perfectly understood." I don't really need that, though; believing I do is not believing the gospel.

So you and I are fine :)

Oh, and that's just the first temptation I opened the entry with. The rest is about other stuff entirely. Too much LJ in the morning can be a bad thing!
Okay, I feel better knowing that the ENTIRE post wasn't about me. That was overwhelming!

Just keep in mind for future conversations that I'm stupid and have to be talked to slowly and with careful consideration. Otherwise I totally get blown away. :D
Oh goodness, that would be a lot! No, the only thing this post is 100% about is me. And I don't think the continuing comment exchange in my other entry is a bad thing; I just had to be honest with myself about why I was tempted to reengage it.
That is my struggle and the impetus behind my recent post about being more winsome.

I think there is a time to speak truth and a time to be silent.

I'm hoping to learn which time comes when.

http://www.livejournal.com/users/carrie_apple/264253.html

I ♥ the following things in your comment (besides your sincerity):

1) the word impetus

2) the word winsome

3) Ecclesiastes.

That is all. I'm going to Nashville now. :o]
Nashville is so relatively close to us! I forgot to ask why you are going to Nashville.
That was an awesome response to her post.

I wonder... why don't people see that the stance on hijackers and kidnappers aren't a Republican agenda? Every president for decades has stood by this. It's a matter of what's best for the whole. If we gave in to what they asked, they'd just take hostage ANOTHER person to kill if we don't meet their NEXT demand... and on and on until what? Everyone's dead? Ch!
I'm in complete agreement with you, but she thinks that W is evil and therefore the entire stance a sham, I think.

An excellent job of keeping your cool (at least in your comments) while still allowing yourself to be frank. She is blessed -- and sadly doesn't know it -- to have a friend who will risk his popularity to be loving and true. It's dangerous ground she's treading, letting her emotional responses govern her "faith" in Christ, rather than the other way around. Very dangerous.

Anyways. <>
She's someone I've known for more than ten years and so I certainly have an investment in our relationship. She hates George so much that it seems to change the way she sees everything that has to do w/ this war.
a lot of what you're talking about is something I've been just grazing lately too.

-do I really grieve the sin that's in my life, not for works' sake, but to recognize it, or do I chalk it up to a "mistake" "my personality" or get so comfortable with knowing I'm forgiven that I don't recognize the way I am grieving the Holy Spirit when I do these things? It's strange- getting the big things, the really bad stuff out of my life, or at least to the sidelines, may have actually been the easy part. the smaller things, attitudes, patterns, it's hard to recognize it as sin.

it's difficult to know that line- between recognizing we're under grace and are forgiven when we make a mess of it, and taking what we're doing, or have done, seriously.

and I hear you with the planning- why do we underrate God? it seems like it would feel like the safest thing to really believe the promises, but our lives would look completely different, everything would be different, if we really truly bought what He promises.
a lot of what you're talking about is something I've been just grazing lately too.

-do I really grieve the sin that's in my life, not for works' sake, but to recognize it, or do I chalk it up to a "mistake" "my personality" or get so comfortable with knowing I'm forgiven that I don't recognize the way I am grieving the Holy Spirit when I do these things? It's strange- getting the big things, the really bad stuff out of my life, or at least to the sidelines, may have actually been the easy part. the smaller things, attitudes, patterns, it's hard to recognize it as sin.

it's difficult to know that line- between recognizing we're under grace and are forgiven when we make a mess of it, and taking what we're doing, or have done, seriously.

and I hear you with the planning- why do we underrate God? it seems like it would feel like the safest thing to really believe the promises, but our lives would look completely different, everything would be different, if we really truly bought what He promises.
Me too (the last sentence). But mostly convicted.