When Fighting With Yourself, Don’t Be Mad When You Get Hit

I am a hypocrite. I know that. I am constantly at war with my own desires reaching to polar opposites of the moral spectrum. I have in alternating moments sacrificed everything for God and then sacrificed my ethic for my desire. I am duplicitous by nature and I know that. I am not alone. All Christians fit this description, as a matter of fact, all people do. The question is whether we see it. I have seen Christians recently expressing outrage over the actions of Miley Cyrus at the VMA awards and then supporting their favorite musical artist or television show that promotes open sexuality through innuendo and provocative speech. Whereas the shows and artists they like may be more talented and skillful at the art, at least Miley Cyrus is being honest. Many non Christians have weighed in on the same moral battleground with very similar views. Hypocrisy and duplicity are easy allies and bring comfort like a warm blanket.  They look to lull us to sleep while trying to steal our souls. We are not alone.  Even the apostle Paul recognized this. In Romans he says:

For that which I am doing, I do not understand; for I am not practicing what I would like to do, but I am doing the very thing I hate. (Rom 7:15 NAS)

With that said, it should be no surprise to others when I act in a way that goes against something which means so much to me. It shouldn’t surprise me. But it should disgust me. I think that is one of the largest problems in the church today. We have forgotten that our sin should be repulsive. It should be something that grieves us and makes us understand what sacrifice God has made for us. Instead many act as if the sins of others should be repulsive but theirs should be accepted or forgotten. After all, it is forgiven, right?

What is the value of forgiveness if the actions being forgiven become common place? If all we do is expect that by uttering two words with faint shame in our eyes we bring right to the universe and celebrate the selfless act of a God/man that appeased an angry God, we are only fooling ourselves. My mother had Parkinson’s. It is a particularly evil disease that eats at you little by little over the course of many years. The main medication is a synthetic metabolic precursor of Dopamine that is able to cross the blood brain barrier and help regulate the nervous system. It works great to begin with in small doses and then as you build a tolerance, requires more and more. Eventually it no longer functions as the dosage requirements can no longer effectively be metabolized. What began as a life saver is no longer effective because its effect is no longer useful to the person. Forgiveness can never go away but our ability to effectively accept it can disappear. If we are callous to the forgiveness, the actions that need forgiving will be common place. Just showing up at church on a regular basis does nothing to stop this.

Both Israel and Judah proved that God has a tolerance point where he will let people go in the direction they want to most. Monday morning theologians want to claim that doctrine states Gods love never ends and his faithfulness and forgiveness are eternal. I agree whole heartedly. I also don’t believe that God will be asking for my exegesis on passages from the text when his examples through history show that if people act like they are separated from God long enough, they are. Debating Calvinism vs Arminianism becomes a pedantic exercise when the evidence of separation and pain in people’s lives is so real. Even correct doctrine can be an illusion that offers little comfort if misunderstood.

One of the best weapons against Parkinson’s is exercise. Every day fight the desire to just relax and take it easy: everything from running and stretching to getting up to change the channel instead of using the remote control. It stops the body from accepting the limitations of the disease and holds them off allowing the medication to work longer. We need to do the same by resisting sin. Spend less time pointing out others and more time controlling our own. The evil that invades our soul and looks like a beautiful dream we never deserved is actually a deadly poison wanting to slowly choke us to death. Look past the lies and fight. Look past our desires and fight. Look past ourselves and see God.

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