Tag Archives: pride

Experiencing the Black and White

black and white

I recently wrote a post about 50 Shades of Grey (you know, like 5156872154 other bloggers. Between that and my American Sniper post, well, you’re welcome, movie industry).  I wrote about the things I wished people would do before seeing the movie, hopefully giving rise to some serious consideration on the part of the reader to avoid the movie (and the books) altogether.

I read a lot of posts similar to mine, asking women in particular to stay away from the movie.

And I read a lot of posts on the opposing side, stating that it was just “love story” and those of us avoiding the movie just needed to get over it and accept it.

And one theme seemed to ring true throughout several of the posts I read that supported the 50 Shades franchise– that my “religion” hindered me from making sound judgement of the whole ordeal.

In fact, it was even suggested that “religious” people were incapable of making sound judgement against the 50 Shades franchise because we hadn’t experienced it.

In essence, the world is not black and white, but instead several shades of grey…maybe more than 50.

From these bloggers I read that if I want to truly understand the people around me, I have to make myself willing to experience and test everything in order to be able to accurately identify the black and the white and all shades of grey in between– in order to be able to identify the harmful from the harmless.

I have to experience sin in order to be able to identify it.

In order to know that the 50 Shades books are filth that will destroy relationships and a morally-based view of sex and love, I need to read them.

Let’s apply that logic to other things.

In order to know that an affair would destroy my marriage, do I need to have one?

In order to know that stealing isn’t okay, should I take what isn’t mine?

In order to know that abusing my children will hurt them, do I need to hit them?

In order to know that murder is wrong, should I kill someone?

It would appear that based on this logic, it’s the outcome of the action that decides whether or not the action is morally reprehensible.

See, people like me, the “religious” types, believe that it’s the heart motivation to commit the action, not the outcome, that labels whether or not the thing is sin.

Sin is a word that most people don’t like nowadays. We live in a world based off of instant gratification and the idea that we must do whatever makes us happy–we want to feel good all the time. It’s all about how we feel. And we want to feel good All. The. Time. We want to do whatever it takes to make us happy, even if that means what we’re doing might be harmful in the long run, or even the short term.

As long as it makes us feel good. Sex. Drugs. Abortion. Taking what isn’t ours. Demanding what we don’t deserve. Hurting others as long as we’re not hurting ourselves. The list goes on and on.

Here’s the thing, friends– I can recognize sin by the motivation behind it. The motivation behind 50 Shades of Grey is nothing more than lust. It’s not a love story; it’s a lust story. I don’t need to read it to know that.

The root of all of this sin is simple: pride. We believe we’re better than we are. We believe that we can live outside of the black and white–somewhere in those shades of grey.

But this world IS black and white.

We’re stained, dirty, dark; covered in the muck of this world. Myself included. I’m no better than anyone else, whether I consider myself “religious” or not. Although I try daily to emulate my Christ, I’m not perfect and I never will be.

He, on the other hand, is perfection in radiant white, spotless, blameless–wholly complete and unchanging– and without pride.

The world in its broken state is the darkness, while He, the Savior of the world, is the Light.

No matter how good we try to be, no matter how much we want to think we are better than someone or something else, no matter how much we excuse our lifestyles or choices, no matter how many nice things we do, nothing we do will ever be good enough.

And that’s where the beauty of His cleansing grace comes in.

snowHe washed away all of our stains with his blood– he cleaned all the black and all of the shades of grey. He made us white as snow through his sacrifice. Praise Him and hallelujah!

The only thing we need to experience is the beauty of his mercy and grace– the only thing we need to accept is the forgiveness of our sins. 

We don’t have to experience sin in order to know it’s wrong. But we do need to experience Christ– and when we do, we’ll know just how right he is.

This is my prayer for you today, friends: that you will experience him and find that living in His light is so much more fulfilling than any shade of darkness could ever be.

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Filed under The Christian Walk

The Ugliness in the Mirror

I love it when God sends one of his “ah-ha!” moments to me like a slap upside my head.  I got one of those slaps recently.

I had been seriously down in the dumps for a few days.  I was feeling discouraged; not good enough.  I was feeling like I was “good” at a lot of things, but “great” at nothing.  The result was a moody, short-tempered human being who was snapping at her family and was so negative that I was doubting myself in all ways.

I knew I needed to get out of the “funk” and knowing that The Truth can be found only in The Word, I grabbed my Bible and turned to my concordance for verses on discouragement.  Well, it’s not an extensive concordance, so it didn’t really offer me much.  My second source was to turn to the internet.  I didn’t find much there either, mostly because I wasn’t depressed or suicidal, just annoyed at myself.

Finally I came across a site that was all about discouragement and I thought, “jackpot!”  I was hoping for a nice little Bible study that would give me some verses to read and I would be reminded that I was a child of God and then feel all warm and fuzzy inside and my little “episode” would be over.

And then God slapped me upside my head.

Jesus recognized the things that often lead to discouragement — coveting (a greedy desire to have more wealth), dangerous and destructive wickedness, deceit; unrestrained (indecent) conduct; an evil eye (envy), slander (evil speaking, malicious misrepresentation, abusiveness), pride (the sin of an uplifted heart against God and man), foolishness (folly, lack of sense, recklessness, thoughtlessness) (Mark 7:18-23)

I took a hard look in the mirror through those words and realized that the person who was staring back at me was not a person suffering from discouragement, but a woman suffering from covetousness, envy, and pride.  These sins were bogging me down, making me negative, and breeding in me the seeds of doubt about my own abilities and talents.

Wow.  God smacked me.  Hard.  And it was awesome.  I almost broke down crying with relief, knowing that my God is a God of mercy and grace, and within moments of my repentance, I felt like my old self again.  No more “down-in-the-dumps” about being discouraged– because I wasn’t discouraged.  I was coveting what others had, envying their rewards and their talents, and being prideful enough to believe that I, too, deserved the same.    

Not everyone suffers from discouragement for the same reason, but my reasons became obvious to me, allowing me to make the changes in my life that I needed to make.  Pride, envy, covetousness; these are sins that require a constant vigilance to overcome. 

God has reminded me repeatedly over the past couple of weeks of his promises in his Word.  What an amazing comfort to know that I am a child of God, worthy of his love, and made in his image and that I don’t have to “do” anything but remember that everything that I do is for His glory.  What a blessing to recognize what I’m good at (and what I’m not), rely on his promises of truth, and continue to grow in Him.  What a wonderful comfort to know that only HE holds the future!  

I’m feeling pretty warm and fuzzy.  What about you?  If you are fighting the feeling of being discouraged in some area of your life, I’d love to pray for you.  I know just how heavy that burden can feel, and just what joy comes with lifting it!


Filed under The Christian Walk