After giving in to temptation, how would you fill in the blanks of this sentence: “The reason I chose to (name the behavior) is because I (state your reason)”?
Would your story change depending on to whom you were justifying your actions? How would you rationalize your behavior if you were talking to your spouse? Or your child? . . . Or the mirror?
Would you choose your words differently if you were having this conversation with God?
It’s hard to tell God, in all honesty, the reason we gave in to temptation. When we choose (once again) that sin or bad habit over Him, our excuses simply can’t hold up. Just picturing this conversation with our heavenly Father gives us a clearer perspective about our choices, doesn’t it?
Unless we’ve allowed our conscience to be seared (the result of continually sinning to the point that our conscience no longer warns us), we feel guilty and ashamed when we try to minimize or lie about our actions to the people who love us.
Unfortunately, this same guilt and shame often keeps us from going to the One Who can give us the grace to see our choices differently. Honestly.
Yet, the idea of having this conversation with God can still intimidate us. No wonder. A healthy, reverent fear of God is a good thing. We never want to romanticize God as being a that’s-okay-and-now-let’s-hug kind of God. We dare never to minimize His holiness.
Almighty God is magnificently loving and full of compassion and mercy. But He’s also undeniably holy and demands respect for His Word. Because of His nature, our heavenly Father hates anything that threatens to harm us, including our own destructive choices.
Considering all this, would Psalm 51:10 (ESV) be a good prayer for you?
Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.
Let’s ask God to give us a greater appreciation for His love and a healthier respect for His Word. Let’s invite Him to renew a right spirit within us, especially if we’re already developing a seared conscience. And most importantly, let’s give Him permission to reveal the lies we tell ourselves when we justify our actions.
If it’s time for you to have an honest conversation with God, please do so soon.
After you’ve had that conversation, consider having another one (or two) with some of the people who love you.
What do you think?
I’d love to hear your thoughts about this post. (Others might also benefit from your comment.)
- Is it time for you to have that conversation with God?
- What keeps you from doing so?
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