Jan 5, 2008

A Continued Moment of Sobriety

Don't fear, the next post in the series is coming very very soon (probably Monday :)


Hey guys, this is just a continuation of my previous post “A Moment of Sobriety.” Please take the time to read that one as I don’t want to waste time repeating myself… I am just overly burdened at realizing my sin, especially when realizing the depth of my sin. As I mentioned in that note, I have recently realized a critical attitude and form of arrogance that I have not had to fight in a while. By nature of saying that, I also admit my faults in not fighting it in the way that I ought to… once again, I have fallen into complacency and dropped my guard. I spoke on this in the last note and definitely stand by what I wrote. Yet I have come to realize that the problem is larger and deeper than I thought, even when I wrote the last note. This is not who I have grown to be in Christ, yet I have allowed myself to slip back into my old, sinful ways.

I had a group of friends over this afternoon and dearly enjoyed the fellowship. Yet, I caught myself several times making comments (subtle or otherwise) that I should not have and putting others down, instead of building them up (as I have a few other times lately). It would be easy to label this “fine tuning” in terms of sanctification, and perhaps it is somewhat; yet it is deeper than that, and much more vile. The truth is that others may or may not have noticed as they were the type of comments that normally accompany our sinful natures and that we all fall into if we don’t watch things carefully (even still, there is no excuse!). Often we preface them with, well, this person is great… except (or with some other similar qualifier). The idea is that if we “show” that we love the person first, we then have the freedom to “honestly point out” their faults. In accountability directly to this person, or in ministerial conversations (pastoral concern), etc, where the goal is to reason through things so as to help the person, I think this is fine. Yet, all too often we (I) use these premises as an excuse for “sanctified gossip / slander.” In this note I am not accusing anyone other than myself of making such comments. To those in attendance, I am very sorry for not guarding my tongue and not being the man that God has created me to be. Also, I want to apologize to any that have been around me during this season… I am deeply grieved for being a reproach on the name of Christ and for slandering any of my brothers and sisters. Again, I ask for accountability… if you hear me doing this, please call me out. Despite my sinfulness, I love each of you very much (all my friends, not just those here tonight) and am torn to pieces at the thought of offending you directly or indirectly.

Upon realizing the depth of this sin, I have “pulled out” a few older meditations. They are not profound or new, but they are true.

Bottom line, how can I judge anyone? I can declare based on the authority of scripture that something is wrong, but it is not my place to judge any person’s motives or heart… I am not the measuring stick. If on a hypothetical “holiness” scale of 1 to infinity (where Christ’s holiness is infinite), let’s assume that I am a 1.5 (and this is admittedly a nonsensical argument as there is no such thing as holiness apart from Christ, especially where I am concerned) and let’s assume that I genuinely see someone else (true perception) who is a 1.25… it is still wrong to look down on them… for what is that compared to the infinite! More importantly, by even entering into this thought, I prove myself “less” than they are. We are not comparing ourselves to others, but to Christ. Beyond this, since when is our sinful perception actually correct?! Chances are, if we perceive ourselves at a 1.5, we are quite a bit lower than that. Further, if we perceive someone else at 1.25, chances are they are higher. I mean, we make such snap judgments with such partial knowledge that we cannot possibly be correct. Use this example… take one frame from a film that is two hours long. Most 35 mm film travels at a speed of 24 frames per second. Thus, if we run the numbers, the overall averages are 24 frames per second, 1440 frames per minute, 86,400 frames per hour, and 172,800 frames in a 2 hour movie!!! Even if I take 10% of those frames, I am only “seeing” 17,280 frames and missing 155,520. That is NOT enough to “see” who that person is. Thus, not only are we condemned by our own system (if we try to use this one), but the entire paradigm is wrong as Christ is the measure… thus, there is none righteous! Second, it is a matter of rights. God is the only one with perfect perception, thus He is able to judge righteously. To judge someone (again intents, not actions clearly expressed in scripture) is to assume perfect knowledge (again, using the film illustration above) and since that is something which belongs only to God, it is blasphemy! Third, the very nature of love is to build up, not to tear down. It is the antithesis of love to speak negatively, especially to put down. This is nothing short of evil!

Thus, once again, I desperately ask forgiveness and sincerely hope that I am catching this early enough that my sin has gone unnoticed (humanly speaking), yet am not naive enough to think it so. I say this not because I want to hide my sin (otherwise I would not post this), but because once again, I am hoping that I have not hurt or offended any that I love. My offense is ultimately against God and was not and cannot be hidden. Thus, I would rather fall into the merciful and righteous hands of Christ for my own sin, than to offend one of His children and add sin upon sin (2 Sam 24 among others).

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