For a long time I've struggled with the idea that I have to be good; that I can't have any faults, struggles or sins. And what issues I do have, I can't let anyone discover them. I have to make sure they have a good impression of me--that others think I'm a good person. If they find out I'm not, it bursts the image of myself that I've worked to create.
Christians are known for hypocrisy. We try to come across as being morally righteous or superior, but we do many (many) unChristian things. And in many ways, this should be no surprise to anyone. We're all sinners. We just seldom address that. We like to focus on our salvation but ignore the fact we usually still have sin in our lives. We only want others--including other Christians (maybe especially other Christians)--to think we're perfect. That, or we only want the people we meet on Sundays to think we're perfect, and everyone else to think we're just the the rest of them.
So it is with me. I'm a hypocrite. I've addressed this before--the struggle with being a sinner and a saint. But I need to own it more. And I still need to work through it. I need to get over needing everyone to think I'm a "good person."
I'm a person. Not necessarily a "good person," but not a bad person, either. I do plenty of bad things (way too many) that I've carried plenty of shame over, but I've also done plenty of good things. I'm just a person. Just like every person, I was uniquely created by God and deeply, magnificently loved by Him as well.
I struggle with this sometimes. I don't always accept that God can love a person like me. But that's Who God is. He doesn't wait until we're perfect or even until we reach a certain level of goodness to love us (He is patient, but He's also realistic). He loves us while we are still sinners.
I will always be a sinner, but God will always love me.
He desires for me to grow: to examine my issues, to work through my shame, to live by the Spirit, to get beyond my selfish desires, to open myself up to others. I need to focus less on whether I'm good (or bad), and focus more on Him. I know that sounds like a bunch of ultra-spiritual talk, but I also know it's what I need to do.
It's been a week since Easter Sunday, but we're called to be Easter people: people who live in the hope of the resurrection and under the lordship of a risen Christ. For me that means I need to set my eyes more on Him and less on me (while at the same time working through the things I need to work through in my life).
So I'm thankful for a loving God who came to walk among us and show us His love, Who suffered horrendous pain and died for me, but Who also conquered death that I may have the hope of life. Not just a religious life or even eternal life, but a transformed life. And maybe transforming is a better word. It doesn't happen all at once, but day by day. And that's all I can do is live one day at a time.