Friday, April 10, 2009

Sins and Old Friends

Today, I fell into a sin that I had been trying to give up for awhile, something that has affected my life for years and years (okay, yes, I'm only 23, but still...).

To be honest . . .It felt like an old friend. Like comfort food. Like sitting by a warm fire in the middle of winter after coming from a long day outdoors. In the past it has been there when nobody else was. Sure, I've felt bad about it . . . sometimes . . . but it's always been my secret, special friend. When I feel good and when I feel bad, comfort comes through this old friend.

But, there is one thing that I do know about friendships: Not all friendships are meant to last. Even the ones that feel the best. I know from experience that some friendships that feel amazing are devastating. While they make us feel amazing sometimes, the consequences of the bad overwhelms all of the other. When you are broken down, the things that you once called good no longer make a difference. You have to move on, forget those things and see them for what they are. Sometimes it's difficult to see the bad in something that feels so good, even when the truth is staring you straight in the face. When it is obvious to everyone else that this thing is destructive, we can be so caught up that we don't even see it.

But the time comes when it's over. It cannot go on any longer. We have to let it go. And we have to let it go forever. It's rarely easy - that friend tempts us, deceiving us of the benefits of pursing the relationship again. Sometimes we fall for it and other times, it's easy to say no. But most of us realize that this old "friend" will keep knocking, wanting to be a part of our lives. But, it's important to say no even when we're lonely.

In fact, we even have to hate it. I listened to a sermon and the preacher/teacher said something profound about the Romans 7 passage that says, "I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it." Most Christians understand this passage very well, but I got new insight. This preacher said that Paul doesn't struggle with sin because he tolerates it, but because he hates it.

We need to change our perspective on our sin. It can no longer be a friend that we let in and out through the back door so no one else knows; it can no longer be something we flaunt. We have to hate it. We have eradicate it from every part of ourselves - thoughts, our feelings toward it, our memories. We have to repent. I read once that the definition of repentance is adopting God's perspective on a certain situation. I like that definition. I know that I am tired of calling what is evil, good, and what is good, evil. There has to be an end to it. That end begins now.

Goodbye old friend. You are no longer welcome in my life!

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