Sunday, April 25, 2010

Somebody Else

Thoughts from my reading in Whiter Than Snow: Meditations on Sin and Mercy by Paul David Tripp. The devotional is indented.

. . . so that you may be justified in your words and blameless in your judgment. Psalm 51:4

I really wish I could blame somebody else.
I wish I could place the responsibility on somebody else.
I would love to point the finger at somebody else.
I wish I could convince myself that it was somebody else.
Isn’t that how we are? Our tendency is to try to blame someone else or something else for the bad things we do. “You made me mad.” “I’m sorry but….” “I was tired.”

But in the darkness of bedtime the logic melts out of my heart.
In the moments before sleep the pain begins to squeeze away my breath.
As my mind replays the day's moments the conclusion is like a slap.
There is no monster to hide from.
There is no excuse that holds.
My war is not external, the enemy is not outside.
What caught my attention in the above section was the passage of time. Sometimes that’s what it takes. We don’t see it right away. Sometimes we look back with a different perspective and sometimes, when we are all alone and it is quiet, the voice of God can be heard. He gently and persuasively speaks: I was wrong, what I said was not right or I said it in the wrong way. I see it and grace appears to help me change and to do the right thing.

I see this in my kids too. Sometime later they appear expressing repentance and sorrow but not when I pressed them to do so. I have to realize that I am not a very good Holy Spirit. I can teach them truth and right principles but I can’t touch their heart the way God can.

The struggle rages within me, nowhere to point or run.
No independent righteousness, no reason for smugness or rest.
I am my greatest enemy and rescue my only hope.
In the quiet I face it
I cannot blame somebody else.
One more time I close my eyes admitting my only hope is found in
Somebody else.
I love how that ends. There is somebody else. I can’t blame him but he takes the blame. The only finger pointing is toward the cross. Hope comes; I don’t have to hide, I can be changed and things can be different.

Here is a question from the meditation:

Are there places where you have been tempted to blame inside (heart) struggles on outside pressures? ("He makes me so jealous!" "This traffic makes me so angry!" "I wasn't this irritable until I got this job.")
There is no denying that outside things to have an effect on us. What I want to take away from this is the hope that I will recognize that the outside pressure is helping me realize what is really going on in my heart.

I once heard singer Barry McGuire say this: “If somebody’s got your goat, then you got a goat to get.” That really makes it clear. Somebody may be doing something on the outside but I need to deal with the inside.


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