Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Broken Hearts

Since reading some of the discussion at Via Media over the last couple weeks, I've been thinking about the topic of sin.

It is a mistake to solely focus on the behavioral aspect because sin is a symptom of a heart issue. It is said that sin is meeting a legitimate need in an illegitimate way.

There were some great comments this week at Scot McKnight's blog about this topic. Many of you may have read Becky's story. She expressed so well the true nature of sin and its damaging effect on our relationship with God.

We all turn from the heart of God to look for the fixes closer to our faces, that look like they will be the drug that soothes. We want to see ourselves in the heart of God and we fear it at the same time. So we turn to things that distract temporarily, looking for the balm. Our golden calves we make. And when we dance around our golden calves, we are the whores who have left our Lover/God.

Also at Scot McKnight's blog, Scott Morovitz explained the damage of sin very well in comment #60 of this post on homosexuality.

Damage to our relationship with God most naturally works out in idolatry of all sorts and flavors. And the damage to our relationships with other Eikons is expressed and experienced in many nuanced levels of violence and violation...And finally, the cracks run so deeply they damage our ability to appropriately love or relate to ourselves. And those work out as self-destructive sins.

And then the Jesus Creed takes the approach of applying God’s grace in a positive manner to heal those cracks rather than focusing on trying to stick our fingers in the dike and stop the outworking of that damage.

Our natural response to sin in our life is to defend and cover in shame, fearful of anger and punishment from God. However, the punishment for our sins is already accomplished.

God waits for us with an invitation to freedom and healing from the destruction sin brings to our life. He invites us in our weakness, offering grace and empowerment by His own spirit to overcome our struggle with sin.

Rather than chastisement, He offers life, love, and hope. He isn't waiting for us to get our act together before we turn to Him, because He is the cure for what ails us.


Pam Hogeweide said...

Graham Cooke says God doesn't get disillusioned about us because he never had any illusions about us in the first place.

I learned a long time ago I can't hide anything from God. The tricky part is that I am quite good at hiding stuff, the sinful kinda stuff, from others. Sometimes I volunteer it, when I'm desparate or feeling quite safe and secure in that person's acceptance of me. But most of the time I don't like to acknowledge the sinful parts of me to others, like the sinful part of me when it comes to how I use my words, my speaking words. Or the yielding of my intellect to judgementalism and arrogance. I don't like to go there at all, not with others. With God, on the other hand, I am secure in his love and acceptance of me for who I am no matter how weak or messed up I am. I can tell him anything.

And he is always very understanding about it.

Once I was confessing a particular sin that I had confessed many many times before over the years. I felt so humiliated to be confessing it again. And God spoke so tenderly and simply said, "I understand." I just cried. My shame over this sin was covered by his love and acceptance of Me. My sin does not define who I am, who he created me to be. He sees me past my weaknesses. This has affected my relationship with God a great deal. In fact, I use to be of the habit to confess any sin I could think of whenever I approached God in prayer. That's what you do, right? Confess your stuff, and then go on to make your requests known. But one day, about a year ago, I felt stopped in my tracks by the Holy Spirit. He put it in my mind about the relationship of my kids. When my kids come to me do they first tell me how they've blown it before they relate to me? "Mom, please forgive me for not cleaning my room, and I ate too many cookies, and I hit Jeremy, and I watched tv when I was supposed to be doing homework...ok, now can we hang out that I've confessed my sins?"

I realized that my picture of God was distorted. I saw him as a God who is obsessed with my sinfulness and cannot hear me unless I constantly acknowledge it. "Yes, I'm a sinner, ok, can we move on now...?"

God, as I am coming to understand him, is not like that.

"I came not to condemn the world but to save it" - Jesus

Bruce said...

Great post, and a great comment from Pam. We can't hide our sins from God, but we can from others. Part of the problem is we seem to be hiding the sin from us too. We don't recognize, or at least not often, why we are out of fellowship with God. Or we don't want to admit we are sinners in need of Grace. We continue to talk about the speck in our neighbor's eye and miss the log in our own.

Thanks for the post.

grace said...

Thanks for adding your personal thoughts and experiences about this. Sin is about so much more than just a list of our wrongdoings.

I think whenever we struggle with a sin, we need to look beyond the behavior to see why we are choosing that over fellowship with God. And I agree that we're not supposed to be worrying about the "other guys" sin.