3 ways to understand our lack of eagerness: through self-destruction
Have you ever realized that there are terms in our daily life that have an original intent to be harsh, but have lost its impact?
Somehow, over the course of time and generations, we have warped the definitions to be less than the dictation and more of an interpretation. We have personalized our vocabulary to match the circumstances we live in. In other words, if we didn’t like the way a term worked within our life, we allowed it to diminish in order to get around the consequence, the risk, the rebuttal. We made it easier for ourselves to live a life of selfish intent and personal approval.
A word that comes to mind, is destruction. Particularly used as “self-destruction.” In todays society it feels as though we are constantly bouncing around the judgment of what certain life choices and habits will destroy us; attitudes and hobbies that will ruin us. But, we don’t agree with those judgements, so we’ve allowed the idea of self-destruction to fall into a category of ignorance. We don’t listen because we want to keep partaking in its’ reference.
Why do we do this?
To break it down, I believe there are three attributes to this:
(1) We don’t understand our sin.
(2) We don’t understand our savior
(3) We who do, don’t express it in love
The pattern you’ll see here, though, is you can’t do (1) or (2) without (3).
We have the ability to change the functionality of judgmental disciplines because we are defining them as judgmental. What would change if those terms became simply reality instead of a diminishing fact? What if we were able to respond humbly, with “oh, I didn’t realize I was doing that.” And be able to adjust respectfully? What does that kind of world look like? We often don’t look at it that way because we aren’t all in touch with our sin. We don’t all see those actions and hobbies as sinful or as destructive. Therefore, the definition doesn’t fit, so it no longer applies to that individual.
This issue changes when that hobby or action moves from the brain to the heart; when it goes from worldly standard to human flaw; when it goes from misunderstanding to comprehension. We can’t expect someone within the self-mindset to look at their self-decision and see it as wrong. Because without an ethical measurement, which is what God has given us, there is nothing for them to base it on. So, the drugs, the alcohol, the lying, the cheating, they are things in their life that they are ok with doing because to them, it produces some sort of “joyful” outcome. So, again to them, it is not destructive. It is instead rather life-giving.
If we can’t make that connection, then we also don’t understand who Jesus is as our savior. Meaning, He set us free from the destructive things of this world, in order to learn to live a life for Him. If we don’t understand or know that sacrifice, then we don’t appreciate it, live by it, or even welcome it. Without the discernment of that act of love, then to those minds the only destructive thing is not to “live” in accordance with those around them.
Why go through these concepts in detail? Because you might have thought this post was directed at non-believers, but it’s also directed at believers. The reality is we, as believers in Christ, often fall short. We have a hard time letting go. We still catch ourselves partaking in things that destroy us from within. That separate us from the Lord. That draw us closer to our flesh, and further from our God. Because the things that are self-destructive are not just the drugs and lying, but also the disobedience, the lack of reading the bible, the withdrawal from community. These are commands God gives with love, because He knows that we are in desperate need of them.
But over time, we have allowed the impact of this self-destruction to sound minimal. To be brushed off. To write down on the calendar for tomorrow. To forgive ourselves before repenting. To take for granted the grace God has given. The harshness isn’t always there. I would say mainly because we also often forget how to confront those issues with love. We accuse, we degrade, we yell, first. Before going to, believer or non, in love and understanding; ready to forgive and encourage; ready to challenge and hold. Ready to stand firm when that person walks away in anger, and ready to love them when they come back.
We cannot do (1) or (2) without (3). We cannot expect anyone, nor ourselves, to hear the truth of something that is truly destroying us, without feeling genuine and authentic love. If we can’t do that as believers, how much harder is that for non?
The challenge here is to recognize our imperfection, and to understand the cruciality in knowing our sin. Hearing the truth of sin in our life needs to be something given and received in love; not in a nonchalant tone, but with earnestness.