"Soon, I was back to trying to impress a God I imagined was growing more and more impatient with me."
OUR REAL PROBLEM When we sin, or when someone else sins against us, we automatically respond. If we commit the sin, our automatic response is called guilt. If someone sins against us, our automatic response is called hurt. God graciously designed these two responses to signal something wrong has happened, that our hearts are disrupted and need healing. We don't work at producing these two responses to sin. They're as natural as the sting we feel when we leave our hand over a flame too long.
Most of us don't know what to do with these internal responses, though. Like Adam, we feel naked so we hide or override our guilt and hurt. In the moment, it seems like necessary self-preservation. But remaining in that choice soon unleashes new depths of pain, inner turmoil, and new masks to wear.
As with an undiagnosed infection spreading poison through our system, we may recognize something's not right. We don't have the energy we used to, and we wince and feel things we hadn't before. Still, we may not connect the dots. An invisible, inner enemy is draining our joy.
We may ignore it or stuff it away, and it may lie dormant for a while, but unresolved sin is still there. Bacterial infections often keep spreading poison until antibiotics are introduced. You can dress nicer, and comb your hair all you want. But you'll only be a well-dressed sick person with nicely combed hair. No external appearance or vigorous exercise will solve our infection.
That is why we named this book The Cure. Nothing in us is equipped or designed to absorb sin. Even when I'm the one being sinned against, I cannot handle it, because it will always ignite the nature of the sin already in me. So, I give myself permission to respond sinfully. How twisted is that?
It makes me want to cry out, "It's not fair! I didn't start this. I wasn't the one who sinned!" It is not fair, but sin doesn't play by the rules.
The transformational good news is that the damage can stop at any time by trusting and applying God's power to resolve that sin.
If we don't access God's resources, the devastating pattern continues, and our guilt or hurt will then breed half a dozen more ugly responses. We call these inevitable effects: Blame, fear, denial, anger, and their assorted sickly relatives. Something under our own roof begins to destroy us, and most of us are clueless about this chain reaction. We only know we have deep painful feelings, distorted, dysfunctional thoughts, and befuddling behaviors we feel the need to mask.
For study in the book The Cure,
Have you heard of our newest resource; Crazy Making?
Join us in this four-week study as we explore where these patterns come from, why we keep repeating them, and how to stop the crazy and live in the freedom Jesus makes possible.
Fixing sin is like trying to fix a crimped Slinky. You may think If you just sit on it long enough it might straighten out. Sitting there, you think you've really got a handle on straightening stuff out. But no matter how long you sit, when you get up, that Slinky springs right back. Compromised coiled metal doesn't "straighten out" by external pressure, and neither does sin.
In the Room of Good Intentions, people are trying to fix others because they've lost the conviction of the power of God's love, the power to live out a new identity. We're afraid grace keeps people from taking things seriously, so we discount the power of love worked out in grace through trust.
Grace is a gift only the non-religious can accept. They're the only ones who can understand it, and put it to use. "Religious" folk see grace as soft and weak, so they keep trying to manage their junk with will power and tenacity.
Nothing defines religion quite as well as attempting impossible tasks with limited power, all while pretending that it's working. A healthy friend and protector depends on Christ's life in you to be enough. That way, they can stop policing your behavior and focus on enjoying life in relationship with you.
Somewhere along the line, we became convinced we needed to trade relationships of love for strategic management of others. That shift frightened us away from each other. That shift forfeited the only distinction Jesus asks us to be known for: Loving and allowing ourselves to be loved. Some of the most disingenuous and useless relationships are those where one has an agenda for another's life, seeing ourselves as scientists seeking a solution for disease in a twisted lab experiment. These people assume some equation of holiness: Four hours of small group study plus thirty minutes memorizing scripture verses, multiplied by challenge, conviction, and demand make the subject sin less and become a more productive church member. What an absolute travesty of what Christ came for!
God wants us to live authentically—fragile believers, learning to trust Him and each other in relationships intent on love. He wants us out of hiding, acknowledging each other without performance or quotas. He wants us to experience His power healing us as He releases us into a life worth living. This is the Church. This is the Church in the Room of Grace!
The Cure, Chapter 6, Two Solutions