FEELING BADLY ABOUT MYSELF
We said to my lord, ‘The boy cannot leave his father, for if he should leave his father, his father would die.’ Then you said to your servants, ‘Unless your youngest brother comes down with you, you shall not see my face again.’ Genesis 44:22-23
I want peace but I don’t naturally want it God’s way. I take shortcuts to protect my pride. I’m much like Joseph’s brothers who will do anything Joseph asks except go get Benjamin. But, it must be Joseph’s way or no way. Joseph knows that by producing Benjamin, sins and emotions of their past deeds will be unearthed, the topics they’re trying to avoid with their bargaining.
Ever think God is unreasonable? God requires full and honest confession. And it’s steep. Like Joseph, He will not settle for a generalized admission. I want to say, “Yes, I’ve done some things I regret.” God will never leave it at that. “Like what?” He’ll ask. Unless I open my heart to give a full disclosure, peace eludes me. My sins were specific. So must be my confession.
This happens in human relationships all the time. If a friend tells me that I offended her, I’m prone to want to declare that I’m just a bad friend. That’s lazy and inept. I need to hear the specifics of my injury against her and apologize with as much detail.
Pride is what created a breach between man and God in the Garden and pride is what keeps me from making peace with God. My sin offends Him and He calls it like it is. But if I own it, won’t I end up feeling badly about myself? What will it do to my ego to call myself a sinner? So, I avoid it and make a plan to come to God on my own terms. I set out to prove that I’m good by doing good things. Eternity is at stake while I play with His terms.
God’s pathway to peace is through the cross. The way is steep – as evidenced by the fact that it cost Jesus His life. Today, He may be asking something steep of me. I’m encouraged to face something in the past, own it, ask for forgiveness, and make some kind of restitution. Prideful excuses abound in my heart. But shouldn’t the One I’ve offended be the One who decides what it will require to make peace? I can trust God with this weighty decision. The terms are based on holiness and empowered by perfect love.
When I come on Your terms, it’s for my good. Amen