Saturday, March 14, 2015
Git Ur Eyes Off Me!
Made you look! Ok ok, no more dramatic plays to suck you into my thought life. From now on I'll stay on topic.
Have you ever been told by your parents, "It's impolite to stare"? I would guess that every single one of us were taught this as children. Yet, it's really sometimes hard not to glance twice at someone who's maybe lost a limb or been scarred by fire. It's just natural for our eyes to to notice things and even for our eyes to maybe do a double take when we see something that gets our minds working and wondering. I'm guessing it's just curiosity. But maybe it could be fear too. I don't know about you, but when I see someone who's got scars I find myself praying for those I love and myself that God would spare us such a painful ordeal that would leave any of us horribly scarred. I also pray for the person who's plight caught my attention.
You know, the same thing happens to us when we notice someone who is spiritually compromised in an obvious way. Just as it's a discipline to not stare at someone with a physical deformity, so it is a spiritual discipline not to fixate upon someone who is in an obvious state of spiritual compromise. I mean, it's really hard not to notice the unwed woman with the baby bump. And it's hard not to notice the blood shot eyes of an alcoholic, or the fact that your friend or family member now has another new last name because they have divorced their husband or wife and got remarried. These things are just right in front of us, and they are obvious testimonies to the moral failure on the part of the one who's caught our eye. Yet, still, it's impolite to stare.
It's so easy to say that we are all sinners. And I know I've talked about this before, but the simple truth is, not everyone is a sinner like some are sinners. Some of us have managed to steer clear of obvious sin. One could really congratulate himself for the way he manages to stay away from the door of the adulteress if he wanted to. And to a point, his self praise would be valid. But at the same time, if we could look into that man's heart, we just might find something shameful that he's managed to nurse in it's quiet chambers. This obviously is impossible for any of us to do. But with God, it is not only possible, it most certainly happens moment by moment.
How fortunate we, who have "kept our way pure", are to be able to skate through this life with our sin neatly hidden away from appraising eyes. "Phew!" Right? What a glass house that is! On one hand we are commendable. Yet I hope we all know that in reality there is NO ONE who is righteous. So I guess we can all wipe our smug little smiles off our faces and fall to our knees in repentance just like those who bear the obvious shame of their sin.
When I think of this subject, I can't help but think of Psalm 119. The perfect prayer. It is filled with confession and repentant pleas for mercy. All of them made by the man said to be "a man after God's own heart". I wonder if I'm a woman after God's own heart? I do. I wish I could say that I am. Because I'd like to be. Like the psalmist, I'd love for my eyes to be kept from worthless things. And I'd love for God to teach me, and give me understanding. I'd love for Him to love me with His everlasting love and find no fault within me. But there is fault in me. It's just as blazingly obvious to God as the baby bump on the unwed woman is obvious to me.
In Psalm 19 the psalmist asks the question, "Who can discern his errors?" Sometimes our sin is so sneaky within us that we don't even get it that it's sin. But following that question the psalmist says,
"Declare me innocent from hidden faults. Keep back your servant from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over me! Then I shall be blameless and innocent of great transgression." Psalm 19:12-14
There is one advantage that the one caught in sin has over the one who's sin is secret and undiscovered by others. Those who's sin has been exposed are directly confronted with it and their need of forgiveness. The rest of us, who's sin is secret and less obvious are dependent upon God to search and destroy our hidden faults. I'm so thankful that He's willing to do this. I'm so thankful that He didn't just leave me thinking that because I don't have an obvious scar from my sin that I'm ok. Because I'm seriously not ok. My heart is sick with the evil He shows me. And I never knew I was capable of such things as He's shown me. But to see what the psalmist prayed and to pray them myself, I know that like him, and anyone else who repents, God will have mercy on me too. Though I do not deserve it any more than anyone else.
It may be impolite to stare. And it may be a discipline to turn your eyes away from the obvious moral failures of others. But the greater discipline is to look inward and do some soul searching with God. What an endeavor! And what a relief when He purges your life of the sin that is blazingly obvious to Him.