We look to these people--people we thought we knew, people we thought we could trust, people that we expected better from--and we're left shaking our heads and clamping up our hearts and pointing fingers in blame and for shame.
We completely forget that they are people, too.
People like us.
People who consistently, daily, hourly make mistakes. People that allow sin to control their thoughts, actions, and words. People that let the imperfections of this world get the best of them. People who do their best to cover their imperfections.
People that would rather die than let their human show.
This week I've been disappointed. This week I've been upset. This week I've been discouraged. This week I've been heartbroken.
I've seen and heard things that I would rather not see nor hear. I've done my best to keep it out of my heart, but it's there. And it has slightly festered. I've rolled it over and over in my mind.
But, the truth of the matter is, we've all got junk. Serious, serious junk. And this junk we struggle with is different from person to person. What might be a struggle for me, may never become an issue for you. And the deceiver would have you believe that your sin is so terrible, or his or her sin is so terrible that nothing could save them. He would have you believe that there is nothing that can fix you or that person. He wants you to think the worst of people, he wants you to be suspicious, and he wants there to be discord among us. He wants you to talk about them, or him, or her. He wants the gossip to feel like knives--and that the blood-letting will be therapeutic. He wants to eat you up, he wants to tear you from limb to limb, and he wants to see you take your last breath.
8 Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour. 9 Stand firm against him, and be strong in your faith. Remember that your Christian brothers and sisters all over the world are going through the same kind of suffering you are. 1 Peter 5:8-9 NLT
He wants you to be confused, and hurt, and angry, and exasperated.
Because when you are dealing with those emotions, it's easy to lose your joy.
I'll never forget a conversation I had with a good friend who was struggling with his weight. When he was considering surgery to "fix" his problem, the doctor suggested that perhaps his problem had nothing to do with his body or his eating--it was a sin. And the doctor reminded him that he had his own sins to deal with--and that perhaps they weren't on the outside.
But they were there. He had his own personal struggles.
We all do.
I don't like the way sin feels. I don't like the way my sin feels, I don't like the weight it puts on me. I hate the heaviness that settles on me when I'm dealing with my sins. I can't imagine the Love that caused Him to hold the weight of the world's sin on His shoulders. I can't imagine the physical pain--and I can't fathom the emotional toil that would have taken on His heart.
I don't like the way the sins of others feels. When they let me down. When they break my heart. When they make me shake my head. When I'm devastated. When I want to make the pain stop.
I hate the pit in my stomach.
But, we must remember: We weren't created for this. We weren't created to deal with this life. Our sole purpose was to praise Him. We aren't designed to carry the burdens of our sins or the sins of others. And thank God He took care of this for us after the fall. Thank God that He doesn't expect us to walk alone. Thank God that He will return, our Knight on His white horse, ready to square things up again.
He created us to praise Him. The Word is very clear about this--we are commanded to praise Him. He is to be our center. He is to be our focus. He is to be our Rock. And when we let these feelings of bitterness and disappointment and anger and rage control our minds and hearts, then those emotions become the things we praise. We spend our time reaping and sowing those hurt feelings, rather than praising and rejoicing the One who has (and will continue to) saved us from it all.
This life really stinks sometimes. There are times when there aren't enough words to fully describe how we're feeling. There are situations that take our breath and hope and joy away from us. I hate the way I allow the world to make me feel sometimes. I don't like taking a trip down Hater Lane and feeling like an old, bitter woman.
It doesn't look good on me.
We must maintain our focus. We must remember our Promise. We must remember again, and again, and again that we are not the Judge. And He took care of these burdens thousands of years ago so we need not carry them alone.
And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them. Romans 8:28 NLT