“I’m a jerk… I’m unloving.”
Loving people… that’s fun! That’s joyful! I want that.
Ouch! This one is touching places and I can feel them. Here’s one way I can tell… I keep coming up with list’s of justifications for why I think like I do… why I feel like I have to say this or that… why I want to ‘control’ what is not mine to control.
I’m listening to this guy (Mark Driscoll) talk and I’m convicted. He’s hitting on places where I struggle. I don’t want to struggle in these areas and I can explain my way out if that’s what I’m most concerned with, but some of these things are my ‘weaknesses in the flesh’.
It’s no surprise, I guess, that God has been turning up the heat on them… the refining process doesn’t feel very good… doesn’t even look very good at the moment. Did you ever look at the surface of precious metal when it’s all dross? No? Me neither… I don’t have any precious metal. ;] But, I have looked at a solder pot and when the impurities are covering the surface… its unimpressive and ugly. But, when I scrape away the dross from the surface… Wow! what a difference. Bright… shining…pure…beauty.
So what should I do? If I continue to listen to this guy Driscoll talking I’m going to feel real cruddy. There’s no doubt in my mind… condemnation is going to be strong. I’m going to want to quit, rather than press on. I’m going to want to hide, rather than let the Truth uncover the ugly. Every ounce of my being is going to want to lay blame on all my enemies. I’m not going to want to stand alone under this exposing Light… naked and ashamed.
But, there’s something else. It’s not my own, but it’s mine now. I have a freedom that allows me to stand in the light of truth and let my sin be exposed in all its ugliness. It’s not an easy freedom. All my feelings still want to run and hide in the darkness. I still want to look good to all who look upon me. I’m not speaking lightly, I really really want people to hear me and think I’ve got it down… just right.
But, I met this Man. He is Perfect. Not perfect the way you and I use perfect… this Person is Perfect in the truest, purest sense of the Word. Funny thing is, I’ve known about Him most of my life. I grew up with my parents and people telling me bits and pieces about Him. Some people I came across even seemed to be really close to Him… knew Him really well… loved Him even.
I remember this one guy. Brian… Brian Allen (yes, a real person I’m so grateful for). He was the first guy I spent time with that seemed honestly ‘Christlike’ in all his ways. I remember him once talking about how he came to see just how totally rotten he was before God and that he then understood his need for a Savior. I think that’s a reality God let me ‘hear’ back then, so that when He addressed me several years later, He had prepared me and He did the work in my heart that needed to be done… and I did what comes supernaturally… I saw. I heard. I believed. I came out from the grave… just like Lazarus. Jesus Christ, this Perfect God-man that I’m talking about, became very real and believable to me. My faith has been in Him ever since.
But that was a tangent… an important precious tangent and one that helps me now understand and respond to the Truth before me. The truth that the Gospel saved me. Jesus Christ died for me 2000 years ago on a cross. It was God’s plan; a loving and just plan, filled so full of grace and mercy! What still throws me… confuses me.. is that He is patiently and perfectly changing me… fixing.. restoring me… redeeming the precious and perfect Image-bearing place He has for me in His kingdom. That blows me completely away… especially because I’m still trying to deal with the reality of my ugliness and sin in light of the youtube segment I just listened to… 6 or 7 times.