The first step toward peace is to discover yourself. The second is to square up with the truth you find. You will get fleeting glimpses of your true self (and sometimes a very clear picture) as you interact with other people, as you read the Bible, and as others minister to you.
Yet the average person usually resists facing up to his faults. Quite likely he will reject anyone who points out his error. Jesus Christ gave the precise explanation for this reaction when He said,
“For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed.
We possess a natural dislike for rebuke. We have a built-in resistance to seeing our shortcomings. We react to reproof as we react to pain. The tendency is to shrink away, to protect ourselves from what we wish were not so.
Studying the Bible is a sure way to get at the truth about yourself, but it takes some effort, and no one can force you to study it. King David said of God’s Word,
Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.
The apostle Paul wrote that
Therefore by the deeds of the law no flesh will be justified in His sight, for by the law is the knowledge of sin.
And it was Jesus who commented,
More than that, blessed are those who hear the word of God and keep it!”
Facing the Unpleasant Truth
As the truth about you emerges from some probing stimulus, you will either face it directly or turn from it. You will mellow or harden, depending on what you choose to do about your discovery.
A young couple came for counsel.
“How is it that at times we can be so cooperative, so tender toward each other, and 15 minutes later so opposed, so hostile, so cold?” asked Marvin, the husband. “How is it possible that we can pray together and feel united in our faith but then we are battling each other over an unexpected issue?”
Marvin then opened the door on their lives to afford a glimpse inside. He remembered the day he and Gloria, his wife, had driven to the city hospital and parked. As they glanced up to the eighth floor, Marvin breathed a prayer for their three-year-old son, who hovered between life and death. “Dear God, we love our boy and we want him, but may Thy will be done. Help Gloria and me to be worthy parents and give Jimmy a happy home.”
At that moment Marvin and Gloria felt closer to each other than at any time in their lives. Carefully he helped her out of the car; arm-in-arm they walked to the door and made their way up to the boy’s room. Jimmy was asleep. A solution of some sort was being fed from a bottle into his arm. The parents looked at their son and their hearts beat as one for him. Marvin felt that he could never speak harshly to the boy again, that he could know no selfishness toward his son.
Jimmy recovered. What joy for Marvin and Gloria to bring him home! But after a week, the feelings Marvin experienced at the hospital had changed. In fact, antagonism toward both his wife and son crept into Marvin’s heart.
The boy had been waited upon night and day in the hospital. After he arrived home, Gloria kept up the pampering.
“When are you going to let him grow up?” Marvin asked his wife.
One evening Jimmy was playing on the floor near the sofa where his parents were reading. He asked his mother to go into the next room and fetch his favorite truck. She put down her magazine and started to get the toy.
“Let him go for it himself, Gloria,” Marvin said.
“I don’t mind getting it for him,” she replied.
Marvin nearly exploded. “You’re spoiling him rotten! All he needs to do is point a finger and you jump.”
Dad insisted that the boy get the toy himself. The child begged and pleaded and began to whine. Gloria became increasingly uncomfortable. Finally she defied her husband and got the truck. Jimmy was happy, but his father was enraged.
After Jimmy went to bed, a silence developed between the parents. Marvin felt quite justified for having taken his stand. Gloria felt Marvin was being too strict. While in the car outside the hospital and by their son’s bedside they had shared tender feelings and identical goals. But now they were at complete odds.
Marvin and Gloria needed to face up to a Biblical truth:
All we like sheep have gone astray; We have turned, every one, to his own way; And the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.
The couple responded negatively: ‘Are you calling us sinners?” They found it hard to face the truth, even though they were fully aware that their behavior was inconsistent. They knew they were both missing the mark that they had agreed to aim at.
Sin Stands in the Way
Marvin and Gloria left the counseling session assuring each other of their devotion to a happy marriage. They renewed their vows never to fall short again. But they were soon back. They couldn’t inspire each other to be consistent.
The apostle John wrote in his first epistle:
If we refuse to admit that we are sinners, then we live in a world of illusion and truth becomes a stranger to us. But if we freely admit that we have sinned, we find God utterly reliable and straightforward He forgives our sins and makes us thoroughly clean from all that is evil. For if we take up the attitude, “we have not sinned,” we flatly deny God’s diagnosis of our condition and cut ourselves off from what He has to say to us.
1 John 1:8-10, PHILLIPS
“‘But we are Christians,” they pleaded. ”What can we do?” John wrote:
I write these things [which give you a true picture of yourself]…to help you to avoid sin. But if a man should sin, remember that our advocate before the Father is Jesus Christ the righteous, the one who made personal atonement for our sins
1 John 2:1-2 PHILLIPS
You must be careful with the word “sin”; you must be sure of its meaning. Romans 7 defines sin as the inability to do the good you want to do; it is the drive within you that causes you to do what you don’t want to do (verses 14,15,19).
Because our tendency is to fight against personal discovery, many find correction distasteful. We do not like to be reproved, even if the criticism is true. Will you fight what God reveals, or will you bend to His will?
***Taken from the book: Breaking Free From the Bondage of Sin, Brandt and Skinner
Have a wonderful Memorial Day - I hope you gain much insight from this information from Henry Brandt and Kerry Skinner.