Self Reflections

“(1) Moreover, brethren, I do not want you to be unaware that all our fathers were under the cloud, all passed through the sea, (2) all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea, (3) all ate the same spiritual food, (4) and all drank the same spiritual drink.  For they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them, and that Rock was Christ. (5) But with most of them God was not well pleased, for their bodies were scattered in the wilderness.

(6) Now these things became our examples, to the intent that we should not lust after evil things as they also lusted. (7) And do not become idolaters as were some of them. As it is written, ‘The people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play.’ (8) Nor let us commit sexual immorality, as some of them did, and in one day twenty-three thousand fell; (9) nor let us tempt Christ, as some of them also tempted, and were destroyed by serpents; (10) nor complain, as some of them also complained, and were destroyed by the destroyer.

(11) Now all these things happened to them as examples, and they were written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the ages have come. (12) Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall. (13) No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.” (1 Corinthians 10: 1-13)

The ‘Our Daily Bread’ spoke about how it is now so common for us to see high public officials, famous people, and world leaders behave so immorally, or so horrifically.  We are no longer surprised.  Most of us just shake our heads and move on with our lives.  We all stand strong in our own convictions we would never go down those roads or do the things they have done.  Some say this out of pride, some say it out of disgust, some say it out of a higher self worth, and some say it because they are Christians.  I am guilty on more than one occasion for using each of these descriptors as my reasoning to shake my head and move on.

But God warns us—God warns me—to get away from this sort of thinking.  These people are not different from us.  They were not given some greater, more horrific temptation than we face every day that took them down these roads.  It happens one step at a time.  One of the countless tiny sins of my own that I overlook every day could begin to lead me down one of these paths.  I am not above the sins and darkness places these people find themselves in simply because I am a Christian.  In fact I am rather humbled and ashamed by this glaring truth today of my own pride.  Because I have been in those dark places.  I have freely walked down into the murky depths of others that I now shake my head at.

I was lucky.  God offered me a way out, a means of escape, through the blessings of faithful heavenly servants.  I am lucky again that God reminds me that those temptations that led me to those places back then are still real today.  They can find their way into my heart again.  I shouldn’t go shaking my head at the misfortune of these people, proud of my new found freedom in Christ.  I should weep tears of joy that I have been saved.  I should feel my heart break for them, knowing my steps once mirrored their own.  I should be taking their lives as an example from God that Satan never gives up trying.  I should praise the Lord at His continuous deliverance out of those same traps.

I know, for a fact, it only takes one misstep to fall.  I know, for a fact, it only takes one sin to open the door to the enormity of others.  I can’t let my pride blind me to those traps.  I can’t shake my head at the obvious sins of others while I casually excuse and dismiss my own smaller ones simply because they are smaller.  Those larger, obvious sins happen because of those smaller ones we let slide by.  Self reflection and humility are very hard concepts to practice daily. 

Sin is sin, whether it is great or small.  All of it is repulsive and hated in God’s eyes.  God is as heartbroken and disgusted by my foul language and little white lies, as he is against the sins of the man who murdered those people a few Saturdays ago.  My reluctance to obey God’s wants and commands of me is just as offensive to him.  All of this is blatant disobedience to God’s will.  The difference is that between that man and myself … I know better.  I know God and His will for me.  I know it.  I study it.  And I knowingly do otherwise.  I know better.  God is my Savior and I love Him, so yeah I don’t do those grand obvious sins.  But it hardly makes my smaller sins more excusable. 

Which hurts worse…when someone who doesn’t know you nor love you does something to cause you pain…or when someone who knows you and loves you does something to cause you pain?  I know Christ.  I pray to God daily, sometimes hourly.  I seek more ways for the Holy Spirit to live in my heart.  My intimacy with my Lord can only make my small betrayals more painful to Him.  Time and time again you can find in the New Testament how those who know God more will be expected of them and asked of them.  Because I see with my eyes, because I hear with my ears, and because I understand with my heart even my smaller sins are big.  I know better.

If I should be shaking my head at anyone, it should be myself.  But in all this I find refuge, and strength, and love.  Because I know God has provided me with an escape from my earthly ways.  He has given me the Good Book; He has provided me with a Comforter; and through His only begotten Son everything I have done or will do has been forgiven me.  I am not alone.  I will always have the light to get back out of the swampy steps I take.


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