I read a recent post by Denise and it made me think. It was about evil and taking a stand against it and not being ashamed. Her and I must both be in the same funk. Ya know, the one I’ve been in since I quit working. It has given me lots of time to ponder many things in my life. There’s nowhere to hide anymore for me. My regrets, my heartache, my sin…..is ever before me….with no life-shattering emergency to push it back down to dark recesses of my heart. Where I have safely kept many issues through the years. They’re right beneath the surface now. And sometimes it’s hard to pretend they aren’t there. So I deal with them, slowly
and thoughtfully….and sometimes painfully. And grieve. And cry. And repent.
I do think about evil. But since I became Lutheran, I think about it in a totally different way. Some evils seem easier to pick out than others. Terrorism, starving people, satanism, child abuse, abortion…..those seem easy to call evil. We like things nicely divided in our minds. It makes it easy to toss them in the ‘evil’ basket……and to judge those who are propagating the ‘evil’. And God does hate evil. For sure. But can we always be sure where it lurks? Do we have the black line so definitely drawn around it that we miss some of the most vile and bitter evil of all? Paul said it this way, “Even when I would do good, I find an evil that is present in me”. So do I…….I have become more aware of my own evil and sinfulness over the past two years than I’d care to share. And it makes me uncomfortable. If I am totally honest with myself and God, there is evil present in everything I do. I hope someone notices when I bake bread for my ailing neighbor….I relish in nice things people say about my home….I try to push down ill feelings that rise up in me about a friend…..I envy, I lie, I covet, I lust. Remember when Jesus said that if you have anger in your heart toward your neighbor, you are guilty of murder. When the definition is sin is extended to that degree, I have nowhere to hide. I am riddled with sin. Every moment. Every thought. Even my best moments and thoughts. And so are you, if you’re honest. My brokenness paralyzes me sometimes. So, how do I process the guilt and the grief that overtake me? I cry out. To God. Who said to me, “and you who were once estranged and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, he has now reconciled you in his body by His death, in order to present you blameless and irreproachable before Him…”. He has covered my evil….by His blood….a redemption and atonement of the most epic nature. But until the day that this mortal body is redeemed, I will live in a paradoxical tension….of both saint and sinner. Of having my sin forgiven under the blood and cross of Christ…..and then waking up another day to live in this blessed but debased human flesh. Which ‘only thinks of evil all the time”. So lately when I ponder evil, I don’t get much past my own depravity. And that….makes me evermore grateful that He has come to rescue me from myself…. from my sin. from my brokenness. I leave you with this song by Lifehouse called “Broken”. Sometimes a song can say it all.
Most merciful God, we confess that we are by nature sinful and unclean and have sinned against you in thought, word, and deed by what we have done and by what we have left undone. We have not loved you with our whole heart and we have not loved our neighbors as ourselves. We justly deserve your present and eternal punishment. For the sake of Your son Jesus Christ, have mercy on us. Forgive us, renew us, and lead us, so that we may delight in Your will and walk in Your ways……Almighty God in His mercy has given His son to die for you and for His sake forgives you all your sins.”