by Joel Lawler
I have noticed that I am very defensive and irritable.
I got an e-mail from someone that I have done work for. It was snide and belittling. There was a problem with the project that I worked on. I responded with a great deal of anger.
There have been several other incidents like this where I have responded much the same. I am quick to go on the defense. I start trying to make a case for why the other person or people are wrong.
This stems for a need for approval. I am trying to find value in my performance. If my performance is questioned I quickly act to prop it up.
My feeling of a need to perform comes from self-loathing. Unless I can get value from what I do, I am worthless. My roles of being a husband and father become measuring sticks of worth. My job becomes a way to prove that I have value. My involvement in my church becomes a way to find worth. Even the things I do for fun like running are used for self-esteem.
Jesus was confronted by the religious leaders with a problem. It was supposed to be a trap. They had found a woman in the act of adultery. She was guilty of a sin that the punishment was death. They took her to Jesus and asked what they should do. It was a "no win" situation. If he said, "Stone her," he would be breaking Roman law because the Jews were not allowed to execute anyone. If he said, "Let her go," he would be going against their law.
Jesus said, "The sinless one among you, go first: Throw the stone."
Hearing that, they walked away, one after another, beginning with the oldest. The woman was left alone. Jesus stood up and spoke to her. "Woman, where are they? Does no one condemn you?"
The woman said "I do. I am a piece of crap. I am not worthy of mercy. Call them back. They should do what they came to do."
She actually said "No one, Master."
I added my response to God's grace.
How completely arrogant of me.
God calls me his son. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for me; as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed my failings.
By denying God's grace and not finding my value in His love I am claiming to know more than God. My judgment is far superior to His. I am also degrading the great sacrifice Jesus made for me. I am saying that it was not enough to redeem me.
I am a flawed man. I will always be a flawed man as long as I have a pulse.
Jesus died for those flaws. His blood cleansed me from my past, present and future sins. He has covered me in his love and grace. My debt is forever paid.
I stand clean.
Where are my accusers?
"No one Master."
This is the truth.
There is one who throws constant accusations at me. He trumpets every mistake and lies when there isn't one. He seeks to steal, kill and destroy EVERYTHING and EVERYONE. My destruction is his goal. He is a liar and the truth exposes him to be powerless against my Heavenly Father.
Who then shall I choose to believe?
Jesus is the way. He is the truth. He is the life. There is no one or nothing else to turn to in order to find life.
It is my choice to accept what he says about me. I am a fool when I choose to believe that I am anything less than perfect in his eyes.