“It is you, O priests, who show contempt for my name.” But you ask, `How have we shown contempt for your name?’ Malachi 1:6
Defensiveness runs in my bones. When confronted by someone who is upset with me, my default can be to discount what they are saying in order to prove my innocence. Being willing to listen to another person talk about my shortcomings takes humility. “I’m sorry,” can be one of the hardest things to unearth from my proud interior.
It is one thing to be confronted by people around me but quite another to be confronted by God. Mankind is fallible and innocent people are often accused of wrongdoing. But when God brings sin to my attention, why would I even think of defending myself? He is holy and His thinking is crystal clear. His knowledge of me, as my Creator, is comprehensive. His pronouncement of sin is indisputable and to think that I could effectively respond with a self-defense is preposterous and reveals pitiful arrogance.
If repentance unlocks the door of heaven and brings God’s blessing, why didn’t I do it more freely in my early life? Why did I wait forty years to seek and to listen to the Holy Spirit? Why was I afraid to ask for forgiveness from the One who would have loved to give it to me? The answer is that I had a fragile belief in the love of God. As long as I was skeptical of agape love, I could’t afford to be wrong. I believed that one day, one sin too many would tip the scales and He’d cast me aside. This was manifested, ironically, with a facade of self-righteousness. Inauthentic before God, I was also inauthentic with many people.
God’s love is the only thing that heals pervasive shame. God’s love is also the only thing that can motivate me to lay my soul open before Him. Finally, God’s love is the only gift that would make me engage in the process of sanctification ~ the very process which begins with “I’m sorry,” continues with “I’m free from guilt!”, and ends with “I give you my life.”
I know You love me. I never need to fear admitting my sin to You. Heal me from all defensiveness. Make me teachable when my spirit burns with conviction. Amen