My heart is full of depravity! I realize this more and more every day! I am arrogant, harsh, lustful, mean, rude, disrespectful, and unChristian in the demeanor in which I criticize, critique, converse, and post. Above all, I’m a recovering know-it-all and shame-oholic! I fail to live by my values, principles, convictions, and beliefs. I tend to think I’m right even when I’m wrong! I think that my way, my view, my interpretations, my beliefs, my values, my principles, my convictions, my take on things, my reading of things, my “correct” take on things are fully, 100%, without a doubt, right, correct, good, righteous, holy, and the “be all end all” for matters of faith and practice so far as being a Christian goes. I often live life from, “A hermeneutic of self-assuredness and criticism of those for whom we disagree rather than a hermeneutic of self-criticism and grace for others.” The list could go on and on and on (see image below for how I use to be, can still be, and will always struggle with because I repent daily of that pharisaical approach to my faith)!
All of this flows from my heart that has not been fully redeemed; I am in great need of grace and redemption!
I have this dual-reality: I am stuck with who I am at this moment and with this ideal version of myself I’d really like to be! And it is the grace in between those two realities that helps me to grow.
I have learned to be self-critical and realize my own depravity. And I think that is the beauty of community. The folks around us show us that, yeah, we are stuck in this depravity and this is who we are at this moment, but there is the person we want to be, the ideal version of ourselves that we desire to be in Christ. And that in between those lies forgiveness and grace. Forgiveness from those around me for my faults and shortcomings, forgiveness towards myself, and forgiveness for myself from God.
I think what sums up my passion and desire better than anything is a song lyric from William Fitzsimmons’ song “Passion Play”, which says, “I just want to be not what I am today. I just want to be better than what my friends might say. I just want a small part in Your passion play.” To that I say a hearty amen.
So my friends, I am depraved. I am a scoundrel! I am broken! I am asking that those who know me or even if you do not that you forgive me for my shortcomings and for the disease in my heart that leads me to do things that I do. And to be patient with me as I will be with you. Our salvation is wrapped up in one another with Christ and the Church both here on earth and in Heaven. We didn’t get into this mess alone, so we sure as hell aren’t getting out of it alone; our salvation lies within our neighbor and vice versa. No man is saved alone.
And for those close enough to me to help me realize this grace in between who I am and who I want to be I thank you! Let us live in the tension of who we are and who we want to be by leaning into the grayness that is life, that is faith, that is our spirituality. Let us not live by our doctrines and dogmas, but by mercy, grace, self-criticism, introspection, humbleness, and a willingness to admit we didn’t know it all, don’t know it all, and won’t know it all.
Let us confess together,
“Lord, forgive us our pride, close-mindedness, and arrogance that lead us to be haughty, prideful, exclusive, and hateful. We confess before Thee that we don’t know it all and never will because you are That which can’t be fully comprehended and understood thus our faith in You is to mirror that reality. Forgive us for our know-it-all ways and lead us to humility, grace, mercy, and peace, which extends kindness instead of dogma, love instead of doctrine, faith instead of certainty, hope instead of correctness. All this we pray by faith with thanksgiving in the Name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.”
A recovering Know-It-All and Shame-oholic brother and fellow sojourner in the pursuit of truth.