Friday, 28 November 2014
Let's not pretend we are sinners
I just finished a book by Brennan Manning; Ruthless Trust. A good book, difficult at times, but one sentence almost at the end stood out and somewhat summarized the book on trust for me; "We can only pretend that we are sinners, and thus only pretend that we are forgiven."
"If we say we have no sin in us, we are deceiving ourselves and refusing to admit the truth"
(1 Jh 1:8).
We need to cut through our pretense, cowardice, evasion and fear of men, to see the truth about ourselves and the true state of our hearts, minds and souls before God, and so Jesus ask Peter three times do you love me, and therefor do you trust me? Put simply, sin, our daily sins, intentional and unintentional sins must be acknowledged and confessed before there can be true forgiveness and real transformation. While I am falling down again and again and getting up again and again, I must trust that Jesus' answer to Peter's question about how often someone should forgive; No, not seven times but seventy times seven was referring to his own practice. Assuming that we are not mocking God's mercy and grace.
We have to acknowledge our sinfulness while we live in a culture that luxuriates in Dr. Phil and Oprah therapy, condemns judgement as intolerant and authoritarian, dismisses acknowledgement of sin as an assault on human dignity, and resists discernment of spirits as imposing arbitrary standards. These individual as well as societal shortcomings have devastating consequences seen in the advocating of personal responsibilities in all areas of life. While we are avoiding any confrontation with authentic responsibility and therefore guilt we stifle all personal growth. While we continue to blame others and circumstances for our weaknesses and failures, we not only refuse accountability for the present stage of the world but also have lost the ability to change. Even if self-pity thwarts self-acceptance, wearing the scarlet letter V gets us stuck on the moral high road.