Forgivness and Redemption / 'Holy Crap'
02-06-09 This was an old note I posted on Facebook some time ago...
Ever have something on your mind that won't let you focus until you express it somehow? Yeah, I've got one. I don't usually like to write theological things on my own page b/c I feel like I tend to be really esoteric about this stuff, and don't trust my writing skills. I worry that my friends who aren't familiar with the fundamentals of my belief system, could mis-interpret my statements, and make a wrong judgment on Christianity (and on me). I am deathly afraid of being put in a box.
That's another blog in itself, and in light of that, those of you who are not familiar with, or in disagreement with the concepts of human depravity and the grace of Christ, you may want to go back to surfing for videos on YouTube.
So at the risk of rudely awakening some people to the other side of me here's what's on my mind:
I've come to a new place in my walk with God. I can't say its a better or worse place, just new. You see I used to think I was pretty good, and had the sin thing under control. I didn't lie, cheat or steal. I had the majority of my bad habits under control, and there wasn't any particular thing that the Lord had been really working on me to change about my life. But I knew I couldn't be perfect, after all I am still human. So, I prayed that God would show me where the remaining sin in my life lay.
*Note to self – If you ask the Lord to show you your problems He will gladly and promptly oblige...
So they say that when you squeeze a tube of toothpaste what's inside comes out; and if you squeeze a person what's inside of them comes out. Yeah, I got squeezed, and I don't like what came out at all. Turns out for all my good habits, discipline, and moderation, in the right situation I will lie, cheat and steal pretty much every time...
Its been a hard lesson, but I've learned that God's forgiveness is not about things I've DONE, its about what I AM. I can modify my behavior and look good, but I cannot change the fact that I am still pretty much rotten at my core. Eldridge (one of my favorite Christian authors) might disagree with me, but I think it's a technicality/semantics issue. Christ does give us a new and good heart to live from, but it is something that needs to be nurtured and cultivated (the ongoing process of redemption), so that it can overcome the old heart that will remain in some form or another until we are fully restored when we finally meet Christ.
Its easy to ask someone to forgive you for something you did; the event is in the past and you can promise never to do it again. But have you ever had to ask someone to forgive you for what you ARE?? Imagine asking to be forgiven for something horrible that you did, that you and the offended party both know you will do again, and again, and again, because it is a part of your being. Its as if an incurable clepto asked you to forgive them for stealing your most precious possession. There's no doubt they did it, no doubt that they are sorry, but they are guaranteed to do it to you again. Are you going to let them back into your house?? I don't think so. But that's exactly what Christ does.
We say “Hey God, I'm sorry that what I did caused you to have to be brutally murdered on my behalf, can you forgive me?” and he always says YES, even though he knows that we are going to do the same thing with the same consequence again tomorrow because its just a part of what we are. I can't even wrap my mind around that kind of Love, but I'm glad its there.
The other missing piece that I'm still trying to understand is the redemption process thing. In theory Christ should be working on the rotten crap in us, and I've now learned that that work is about a lot more than behavior modification. I understand that we can overcome our ugly nature with the help of Christ (and now I know, only through Christ). But what does it look like? How do I pursue it? What is redemption about if its not behavior modification?
Let me know if you've figured it out...
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