Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Taking the blame when we should

A guest entry. Thanks for writing this Amanda!

"There's no nice way to say this:

Sometimes it isn't Satan's fault. Sometimes its YOURS.

I had a good talk with a friend of mine about how sometimes we're really bad at taking blame for the natural consequences of our actions.

I mean sometimes the fact that you got sick was because you went to bed late and didn't wear your mitts, not because Satan is attacking you. Sometimes the fact that you're angry right now is because you need to get over your pride, not because Satan is attacking you.Or often it's a mix of both. Maybe you're angry because of your pride, but Satan has been putting lies about your own superiority in your head. It's nice to have a scapegoat though isn't it? And it's always easy to blame Satan. and yes--the spiritual world and warfare are more real than you or I know, and I'm not denying that at all. If anything we need to understand that more. But the point is to see that WE have a part in it too.

You might be wondering why this matters at all.

Well, there's something very scary about a person who never recognizes their own mistakes, and always wants to point the finger elsewhere---whether that's down (to Satan), horizontally (to other people), or up (to God). What I've been realizing lately for myself is that maybe it's time to take that finger and turn it towards our own hearts.

The sacrifices God wants are a broken and contrite spirit (Psalm 51). He wants repentance. And anyone who calls themselves a Christian and says they know God experiences this kind of humbling. If you HAVEN'T, but you say you know God--check again. You'll never realize how good God is if you don't realize how bad you are, and vice versa. You'll never experience God's mercy and grace as deeply if you don't realize how much you deserve hell.

Here's an example...

Simon the Pharisee invites Jesus and a bunch of other people over to his house for dinner. A sinful woman comes in and washes Jesus' feet with her tears, drying them off with her hair. Simon thinks to himself, what does this woman think she's doing? And why doesn't Jesus realize who she is and what she's done? But Jesus knows his thoughts.

So he tells Simon: two men owed someone money, and one owed more than the other. If the lender let both the borrowers off, who would love him more? Simon says-- it's the one who owed more. Ding ding ding. Right answer Simon! Jesus' response is:

"Do you see this woman? I came into your house. You did not give me any water for my feet, but she wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. You did not give me a kiss, but this woman, from the time I entered, has not stopped kissing my feet. You did not put oil on my head, but she has poured perfume on my feet. Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven—for she loved much. But he who has been forgiven little loves little." (Luke 7)

Do you get the HUGENESS of this?? Because this woman realized her own sinfulness, she was able to experience God's grace in an amazing way that Simon hadn't. If she was still stuck blaming her family upbringing, the friends around her, Satan, God--whatever--if she was still patting herself on the back or denying her evil lifestyle--she would not have been able to love Jesus as much as she did. Her love came from the realization of her own sinfulness and his own goodness.

Look in the Bible. Job, Elijah, Jonah--these people saw God and were humbled. Job thought he could face God, and by the end he was sorry he'd ever opened his mouth to question our almighty God. Jonah thought he could run away, but he got a reality check in a whale's stomach. True experiences with the living God bring us to our knees because they give us a REAL persective on who WE are and who GOD is. And it's the BEST thing in the world that could happen to us. Who wants flattery when you could have TRUTH?

So a little guilt won't hurt you. A little sorrow for your sins. A little repentance. A little mourning. Or a LOT. 'Cause Jesus didn't walk around giving people feel-good answers and showing them whose fault it was that they are the way they are. He said "Repent, for the kingdom of God is near." (Matt 4:17) if you want to point fingers and avoid owning up to your part in the struggle, then not only are you living outside reality, but you're missing out on an AMAZING opportunity to be changed by God's love, mercy and grace. Because when you finally do admit who you are, God shows you that he loves and forgives you anyway... and that's the most incredible part of the whole thing!! God doesn't get us to repent just so we feel bad, he gets us to repent so he can show us HIMSELF and all his goodness!

One little disclaimer-- no, I'm not saying we should DWELL in guilt or beat ourselves up over and over again. (That IS one area where Satan WILL attack you.) The Bible says that when followers of Jesus confess their sins he is faithful and just to forgive us (1 John 1:9). So once we've repented, the guilt is done and we HAVE to move on.

What I AM saying is that for the good of our own relationship with God, we have to come face to face with ourselves, and with Him. And when we do, the guilt and sorrow over our own sin will turn to joy and thankfulness at his amazing mercy and grace!! Thank God!"
ar TORONTO, CANADA | 2023+

APRIL


MAY

27 Sat (1) 11am Commencement speaker at R. University, (2) ~3pm+ time w/ V/AR+
29 Mon (1) 9:30am VT prayer, (2) 3pm mtg DerCh - Mississauga
30 Tue (1) 10am ph call (AA), (2) 5:30pm video mtg (IsTan), (3) 8pm neighbourhood prayer mtg

JUNE
1 Thu (1) 11:30am Zoom mtg (LM), (2) 4pm mtg (VS,KBr)
2 Fri (1) 10:30am ph call (PVDW; SL w/ boys; ~J working)
3 Sat SL w/ boys and MG
5 Mon (1) 9:30am VT prayer mtg, (2) 2pm Europe call, (3) 5pm mtg/walk (YM)
6 Tue (1) 11:30am lunch (GD) - St. Jacobs, (2) 4pm mtg (AF) - Cambridge, (3) 7:30pm worship night
9 Fri ~J's b'day
10 Sat North Bay trip
13 Tue 11am mtg (DAy) (~J school trip w/ ~Co | text BD)
14 Wed 9:30am time w/ BD
15 Thu 4:30pm video mtg (Paul T.)
16 Fri (1) 9am video med appt, (2) 15-km run (Prayer Journey "warm-up")
17 Sat Prayer Journey (my own: 50km GTA bike-ride; Jessie's: 5KM) and speaking at GTA after-party
23-25 Fri-Sat poss. SL
26 Mon 2pm Europe monthly call
29 ... July 7 Thu-Fri poss. holiday in Arkansas

JULY
... 7 Thu-Fri poss. holiday in Arkansas
~8-17 SA+ in Toronto; P/H Bell likely visiting too
15 Sat aft+ baptism (Saj; NaB may be coming)
17-21 Mon-Fri Kids Kapers camp
24 Mon 2:45pm med. appt
26 Wed (1) 11am video mtg (SM), (2) 3pm Zoom mtg (SMa,SB), (3) 7pm ~J speaking at Greenhouse/Zoe - UofT downtown
27 Thu 10am video MVT board mtg
31 Mon 3:05pm med. appt
July/Aug CCWM board mtg / AGM

AUGUST
2 Wed 11am video mtg (SM+)
6-12 Sun-Fri Cottage w/ O/DN+ and UB/AC - Windermere; plus Muskoka
19 Sat poss. ~J fam beach day - Brighton area
25-29 Fri-Tue MoveIn staff retreat - southern Ontario

2023+
Sep 21 Thu - MVT board mtg
Sep 23 Sat poss. date of GV memorial
Sep 24 Sun ~Ch's b'day
Sep ~26-28 Poss. time in Lushnjë, Albania
Sep 29 - Oct 6 MoveIn Europe Conference+ - Durrës, Albania
Oct 21 Sat poss./unlikely date of GV memorial
Oct 21-27 Dollar-a-Day week
Early Nov Poss. fundraising event - Niagara
Nov-Jan Poss. time in India - Goa; Philippines - Manila+; Indonesia - Jakarta/Bali; LA/San Diego