by James Washington
Special to the NNPA from The Dallas Weekly
The older I get the more convinced I am that I am going to surely fail, fail miserably as a matter of fact, in my attempt to be perfectly Christ like. We all know, or should know, this is just not going to happen. However, as we also know, it is our job to humbly and consistently keep trying and striving to emulate our Lord and Savior. There are all kinds of expressions to describe this rather unique occurrence in the Christian experience; everything from ‘backsliding,’ to falling off the wagon, to suffering a setback, or simply falling down. In each instance, I think the Christian’s obligation is to weather the storm and reverse direction, or more aptly put, ‘get back up on my feet again.’ I don’t know about you but one of the hardest things for me to do is to know I’ve blown it with regard to Christian behavior. I have maintained an un-Christian attitude for longer than I should; held onto my anger too long. Or, I’ve enjoyed someone else’s misfortune much too much. You see when that happens, because I profess and believe the good news of the gospel, I do understand what is supposed to be inherently good and what is not. Yet I’ve acted or reacted outside of the parameters of what I know is good Christian behavior. At this point I know I’m in trouble because I indeed do know better. It becomes hard and kind of embarrassing to ask God for forgiveness, when you know He knows that you do know better.
For me that’s pretty tough. It’s like stealing and having to confess to your mother, or, being caught cheating and your punishment was delivering the bad news to your mother by a note from your teacher. For those of you who have had to carry such burden, I’m sure you understand that sinking feeling as you have exhausted every excuse possible in a vain attempt to delay the inevitable. The moment of truth has come. You’ve got to tell Mom. Stay with me for a moment and relate this situation to having to tell God. You know that He already knows. It is then absolutely necessary and incumbent upon me or you to stand up, ‘fess’ up and proceed down the only road that makes sense, with the full knowledge that you will be okay. The Lord still loves you. Getting through that whole process has always been very difficult for me because, I believe what I’m feeling is generally stupid and certainly clear about knowing better. When you’re a Christian, you do know better. I don’t know which is worse, knowing better or having to tell God that you knew better. The good news is, God knows what’s in your heart. It is His measure of who you are and who you are in relation to Him that really matters. It’s because of that, that God knows you are repentant, just like your mother knew you that you knew better because she raised you. She also knew you were truly sorry. It remains the only basis for forgiveness.
For me it still remains an uncomfortable exercise to square my shoulders, assume the position faced down in reverent prayer and enter into the domain of my Father and reveal that kind of failure. Each time it happens, I’m reminded that God did not come to call the righteous, but the sinners of which I am one, regardless of how enlightened I might think I am. Remember this the next time you review the day and realize how much better you could have behaved.
May God bless and keep you always.