We humans are a contradiction. On one hand we have a hard time seeing ourselves in anything but a positive light. When we compare our selves to others we pick people that we stack up well against. When we get caught in sin we blame others, or accuse those who catch us as being “holier than thou.” We constantly cut our selves slack and when our conscience does get bothersome we medicate it, we quiet it through drugs, alcohol, entertainment or even hobbies. There is a little voice that constantly whispers to us, “you don’t really need to change.”
On the other hand, we also have a hard time seeing our selves with any real power to change. We feel helpless. We have tried so many times and have fallen so far short of the goals we set out for our selves that we refuse to set new ones. We feel incapable of real change so we resign ourselves to the fact that we will always be this way. The sins we battled years ago are the sins we still struggle with today. We feel inept, ineffective, unqualified, incompetent, miserable and hopeless. There is a little voice that constantly whispers to us, “you are powerless to ever really change.”
I am convinced that most of us trudge through our Christian life flip flopping between these two voices. We start feeling guilty about how we handled a situation and we hear, “Hey, cut your self some slack on this one, it’s not you who needs to change.” And if we still feel guilty the voice in our head changes… “Maybe you do need to change, but what are you going to do? This is just who you are…”
I am not sure about you, but this is the reality of so many who come to me for spiritual counsel. They feel paralyzed. Paralyzed by a deadly combination of self-rationalization and self-condemnation. But there is a better way.