Tuesday, July 29, 2014

How to be a hater

I have learned to hate.

Hate is a driving force that spurs me to action, opinion, and determination. Weirded out yet? Yeah. I guess that’s not your typical opening statement for a devotional. But hate — in the correct context — can make a lot of sense.

Paul the Apostle stated it best when he said: “For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate.” (Romans 7:15 ESV)

I do the very thing that I hate. There is so much of my sinful self that I have come to despise. My impatience is one of them. When I have projects to complete, I become driven — focused — and my two year old suffers. The other night he was following me close on my heels, like a needy little puppy dog. I turned and snapped “go watch Bubbleguppies!”
Like really — what kid doesn’t want their mother to tell them to watch TV? The look in his big baby browns just about killed me. Sadness. Mommy didn’t want his help, or his prancing on tiptoes singing, “I may never march in the infary, toot in the tootery”. Mommy was too busy. He hung his head and without question returned to his banishment on the couch and the cheerful cartoons went over his head as he buried his face in his blanket.

I have come to hate the darkness inside of me.

“For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out.” (Romans 7:18 ESV)

As humanity, we have formed a culture that fights for the right to act on our fleshly impulses. But as Paul defines, those impulses are “nothing good”. Strangely enough, in our fight for human rights, we have also fought for the right to damage, wound, impale, break, and scar those around us. For sin does not only affect ourselves. It does not only affect our relationship to God. It touches others in a rippling effect of pain.

“I have the desire to do what is right…” — I do. I really do. “…but not the ability to carry it out.” Failure. Morbid utter condemnation.

“Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?  Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!” (Romans 7:24-25a ESV)

I stared at my son while I was consumed with hatred for the sin inside of me that caused me to selfishly snap at my child, wounding his spirit of joy and creating even a smidgen of doubt that I wanted his presence in my life.

“Are you mad at Mommy, buddy?”

He nodded.

“I’m sorry.” I whispered it. He turned and his cheeks stretched into a smile. Sitting up, he patted my knee with all the love he could muster.

“It’s o-tay.”

He understood. Why? Because he’s already been there too. In his own tiny sinful self, he knows what it’s like to wound. He knows what it’s like to ask forgiveness.

Thanks be to God … to Jesus Christ our Lord … for in and of myself, I will continue to wound, to scar, to walk in darkness. But in Jesus, I find life, healing, strength, and the ability to claim His victory over my sinful self.

I have learned to love. I have learned to love life — and the righteousness found therein.

What have you learned to hate about your old nature and/or what new character has God recently taught you?

12 comments:

  1. That even after I've selflessly sacrificed myself without complaint, I still have no right to pick back up my little self and demand that it's about me--since I gave so much..... Oh, Lord, break me.....

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  2. Jaime, I think I have to say mine is the same ... when I snap at others. I'm usually tired, hungry ... but it does break my heart. I'll ask myself, "Will you ever learn?" Thanks for sharing this ...

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    1. It's good we're aware of our weaknesses though. And if we're sensitive to the Lord, He can catch us before we snap :)

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  3. I was the same way with my kids and now I see the same thing in my grown kids with their children. They crave attention and a lot of the time the parents are too busy with iPhones or iPads to even notice. It's sad that it takes being a grandparent to notice these things and try to make it right.
    If you read this, please say a prayer for my sons girlfriend. She had her tonsils out yesterday. She's 23 and has type 1 diabetes with an insulin pump, which adds complications. She's nauseated and hurting of course.

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  4. Such a sweet story, Jaime, and one that we can all relate to as we've all been there at one time or another. Because we are human and therefore, not perfect, we have the need for continual companionship with the only perfect One, our Lord, and time in His Word - as reminders of our imperfections and the need to always strive to be more like Him. The wonderful thing is that He understands, knows we are incapable of perfection, and forgives.

    I've had/have so many things in my nature to hate - thankfully, God has helped me overcome many of them through the years, but I still have a long way to go and will continue to because of that imperfection and humanness. One of the things He is presently helping me with is impatience - through my ongoing health issues, which are also another reminder of just how much He has blessed me!!

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    1. Oh and how hard it is to have patience when going through what you're going through, dear one!!! Will keep you in our prayers!!!

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    2. Thank you, Jaime, prayers SO appreciated!! Prayers from so many friends are what have helped me get through this as easily as I have.

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  5. What I've learned to hate most about myself is my selfishness. I might do something and not complain out loud about it, but man, my inner self just rants and raves about how now one ever helps me, how unappreciated I am, etc. I hate that I can't just quietly do something and let it go. Just move on and be thankful that I am able to help and take care of my family. I hate that every thought seems to start with "me" or "I" - I want to be selfless and generous, to be always kind and loving, but I'm not even close yet. I fail. Every. Single. Day. Thankfully, I'm forgiven. "For His mercies never fail. They are new every morning."
    Thank you for sharing and making me think. :)

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    1. And aren't we thankful for those unfailing mercies? It makes God so much greater, so much bigger, so much more amazing!!

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