Late last year, despite having gone to a men’s retreat, and having been there touched by Jesus, I found myself carrying a troublesome burden:
I was angry at my wife, angry at life (and my station in it)… just angry.
But the truth is that hostility, and the rages borne of it, masked something much darker, more worrisome:
I was angry because I was afraid, and I was afraid because life was
not working out as envisioned. In other words, I was afraid I wasn’t going to get what I wanted out of life. Sadly, that’s what was paramount to me: what I wanted.
If anything got in the way, I exploded. I wanted what I wanted. Damn the consequences. It’s taken many months, much prayer, and counseling to come to grips with what a selfish bastard I was. And how much the selfishness hurt those closest to me.
I never want to live in that place again. I want to forget, but I can’t. If I forget, I run the risk of going there again, right? Yes, love covers a multitude of sins, and mine are washed in the
blood of the Lamb, but there’s a reason God made us with memories–why we can’t forget. (Even though He remembers our sins no more, dropping them into the sea of forgetfulness).
If we forget, we perhaps will fail to learn the most basic lesson:
We’re not okay. It’s when things are going smoothly, life is working out, that we all have a tendency to drift. To think that we’re okay, that we’re not so bad after all.
So I for one, although I forgive myself, don’t want to forget the dark places I can go. Why do you think the Bible presents people as they are? Abraham, the friend of God, told the same lie about his wife, Sarah, on at least two occasions. Moses murdered an Egyptian. Samson… poster child of what not to do when one has taken a Nazarite vow. Barak wouldn’t go to the fight without Deborah. Gideon was weak of faith. Jephthah made a rash vow.
David wanted Bathsheba. We all know how that worked out.
Peter denied Christ… I could go on.
The point is that these stories, about people just as real as ourselves, are chronicled for our edification. They are told so that we don’t forget two things:
1) These oddballs were screwups (just like us) of the first order; and,
2) God loves, and uses, the screwups right where they are. And somehow manages to love them (and us) enough to not leave them where they are.
As it says in the Bible, “We have this treasure in earthen vessels to show that the excellency of the power is of God, and not of ourselves.”
How about you? Do you want to forget? Or do you want to fall into the arms of Grace Personified?