The Truth Can Be So Hard

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I have some faithful friends who show their care for me by telling me the truth. I don’t always appreciate it! Who really likes having shortcomings and failures pointed out or corrected? The notes of appreciation, the words of praise and affirmation – those I accept joyfully. But, when told about a gap in character, a failure of commitment, I am oh so human – tempted to deflect, excuse, or even deny it.  Yes, sometimes I become angry, wondering just who they think they are to say something like that. The wisdom of the Proverbs reminds us that “An open rebuke is better than hidden love! Wounds from a friend are better than many kisses from an enemy.” (Proverbs 27:5-6, NLT)

In the letter to the Romans, Paul begins with hard words about the human condition apart from God. The opening chapters are a difficult read about sin, depravity, failure, and judgment!  My preference is to jump straight to chapter 5 where the hard truth resolves into the promise. “Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God.” (Romans 5:1-3, NIV)  Hold on! We need to know why that gift of being set right with God (justified) is so precious.

After telling us that God reveals Himself in the amazing world He’s created and that He’s written a knowledge of His moral commands into our conscience, Paul goes on to remind those of us who might feel superior to those who sin more flagrantly of our own need for the intervention of God’s loving grace, stating the truth about our spiritual state apart from God’s grace.

“You may be saying, “What terrible people you have been talking about!” But you are just as bad, and you have no excuse! When you say they are wicked and should be punished, you are condemning yourself, for you do these very same things. And we know that God, in his justice, will punish anyone who does such things. Do you think that God will judge and condemn others for doing them and not judge you when you do them, too?

Don’t you realize how kind, tolerant, and patient God is with you? Or don’t you care? Can’t you see how kind he has been in giving you time to turn from your sin? But no, you won’t listen. So you are storing up terrible punishment for yourself because of your stubbornness in refusing to turn from your sin. For there is going to come a day of judgment when God, the just judge of all the world, will judge all people according to what they have done.” (Romans 2:1-6, NLT)

There is no need to wallow endlessly in guilt, to beat on ourselves with condemning words, or live in a state of spiritual defeat. However, we need to accept the truth about our desperate need so that we will gladly and faithfully embrace the gift that God offers us in Christ Jesus. If we minimize and/or excuse our own brokenness and sinfulness, we become abusers of His kindness and possibly sink into self-deception.  James says that a person who deflects the truth about his need for grace is like a man who sees his flaws in a mirror and walks away forgetting that image, pridefully pretending he is someone other than who he really is!  I don’t want to be ‘that guy,’ do you?

On this Monday morning, get real with God. Celebrate the goodness He’s given to you.  Develop the gifts invested in you. And yes, face the flaws, the unfinished, the broken, the thoughts that rebel against His mastery. It can hurt to look into the mirror when the Spirit convicts us of our sin, but oh the joy of knowing that His love is encompassing, that the One who knows us best also is the One who loves us most.  Here is a word from the Word. Own the hope today. 

“The sacrifice you want is a broken spirit. A broken and repentant heart, O God, you will not despise.” (Psalm 51:17, NLT)

Each time he said, “My gracious favor is all you need. My power works best in your weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may work through me. Since I know it is all for Christ’s good, I am quite content with my weaknesses and with insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” (2 Corinthians 12:9-10, NLT)

____________

RESCUE

(the beautiful song by Lauren Daigle)

You are not hidden
There’s never been a moment
You were forgotten
You are not hopeless
Though you have been broken
Your innocence stolen

I hear you whisper underneath your breath
I hear your SOS, your SOS
I will send out an army to find you
In the middle of the darkest night
It’s true, I will rescue you

 There is no distance
That cannot be covered
Over and over
You’re not defenseless
I’ll be your shelter
I’ll be your armor

 I hear you whisper underneath your breath
I hear your SOS, your SOS
I will send out an army to find you
In the middle of the darkest night
It’s true, I will rescue you

 I will never stop marching to reach you
In the middle of the hardest fight
It’s true, I will rescue you
I hear the whisper underneath your breath
I hear you whisper, you have nothing left
I will send out an army to find you
In the middle of the darkest night

 It’s true, I will rescue you
I will never stop marching to reach you
In the middle of the hardest fight
It’s true, I will rescue you
Oh, I will rescue you

Songwriters: Jason Ingram / Paul Mabury / Lauren Daigle Rescue lyrics © Essential Music Publishing, Capitol Christian Music Group, Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

 

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