When I’m in MA I go to a bible study at the home of a family I’ve known … forever. For some reason I pay better attention to the socratic-seminar-couch-conversations than to sermons at church. There is worship and fellowship and I always get some good old-fashioned juice squeezed from the bible, but I rarely leave feeling good about… anything. This week there was a new low hit, and it was really disconcerting. I was arguing with a friend before hand and couldn’t even be alone with him because I was so angry (I would have pitched a fit, it would have been bad) and every encouraging and uplifting message seemed to affect me in the opposite way. I felt weighted down, wading in my anguish at having so many lies I have to tell because they aren’t mine, being a sinner that can’t seem to let go of the worst things about myself, etc.
I asked God, I asked myself, since I have a disconnect between my logic and feelings, why? Why do I leave what is usually the best part of my week ready to step in front of a truck? I decided that there is something wrong with me, faulty wiring most likely.
Oh how I forget that while I am unique and one of a kind, I am not that special when it comes to these things and there is nothing that sets me apart from anyone else in the devil’s condemning glare. I get so upset and illogical because I feel my sin so uncomfortably, and I end up thinking once again about how little I matter. To think I am unimportant is just as bad as thinking I’m the most important thing in the universe: it’s selfish and self-centered and a lie. The only truth that I can see is the one laid out in the bible that I consistently seem to ignore: that I am redeemed by Christ’s sacrifice and God’s foolish love. But the accuser has a way of getting under my pale irish skin, which already is too accustomed to guilt and shame.
10 Then I heard a loud voice in heaven say:
“Now have come the salvation and the power
and the kingdom of our God,
and the authority of his Messiah.
For the accuser of our brothers and sisters,
who accuses them before our God day and night,
has been hurled down.
11 They triumphed over him
by the blood of the Lamb
and by the word of their testimony;
they did not love their lives so much
as to shrink from death.
12 Therefore rejoice, you heavens
and you who dwell in them!
But woe to the earth and the sea,
because the devil has gone down to you!
He is filled with fury,
because he knows that his time is short.” – Rev 12
The devil is the accuser, an angry ex-employee of heaven whose corporate sabotage schemes got him fired. He’s crafty, but he’s also bitter and knows his time is running out. He understands the best way to mess with God’s plan is to just mess with our heads, and he takes every chance he can to make us feel guilty, unimportant, and worthless.
Even today it is hard for me to keep my chin up. When the environment is so full of toxins my spirit gets weird and vulnerable to lies, and even to truths that just don’t really matter anymore because of the grace of God.
13 You were dead because of your sins and because your sinful nature was not yet cut away. Then God made you alive with Christ, for he forgave all our sins. 14 He canceled the record of the charges against us and took it away by nailing it to the cross. 15 In this way, he disarmed the spiritual rulers and authorities. He shamed them publicly by his victory over them on the cross. – Colossians 2
I’m still learning different techniques and tools to handle the so many parts of my life that I don’t like. I try to feel encouraged because my behavior used to be so self-destructive that my progress should make me feel better. It doesn’t always work like that. But, when I remember to, I take comfort in the truth. Jesus wasn’t an elitist. God wouldn’t have been as upset with me as I get with myself, never would he be as ready to brutally punish me as I am. As Bethany Dillon sings, he sits at the table with the wounded and the poor, he laughs and shares stories with the thief and the whore when he could just be silent and leave us here to die. Still, he sent his son for us. He is on our side.