not good enough
Quarantine Reflections by Abby Jean Charles
I am not good enough to be offended when someone talks about me behind my back.
I am not good enough to demand respect from authoritative figures.
I am not good enough to act like I deserve things out of life: a long marriage, many children, lifelong health, economic security.
I am not good enough.
There was once a man who walked the earth. He was perfect. He never sinned. He was fully God and fully man. He came to accomplish a rescue mission fueled by love. He was more than good enough. If there has ever been a human deserving of taking offense and demanding respect it was this man. He was God in the flesh. Still, when people mocked, whipped, and even spit on Him, he lovingly took the punishment that each one of us deserved.
We are not good enough…
“This includes you who were once far away from God. You were his enemies, separated from him by your evil thoughts and actions.”
Colossians 1:21 NLT
God’s Word makes it clear--we were enemies of God. Not acquaintances, not nice members of society, not average humans... enemies. Think about the implication of the word enemy; people search to destroy their enemies. People make plans to annihilate their enemies.
We were God’s enemy.
Before Jesus died on the cross for our sins the wrath of God was upon us.
“All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath.”
Oftentimes we hear the same message again and again with our ears, but we don’t allow it into our heart. It is impossible to grasp the weight of our own shortcomings in sin. It is for this reason why God designed marriage, friendships, and Christian community as a mirror designed for our sanctification and growth in holiness. All designed for us to begin to see just a small glimpse of our own sin.
In quarantine we are closer in proximity and forced to commit to longer durations of togetherness with those under our same roof. I am certain that each of you have been shocked by some of the words, actions, and attitudes from those close to you. I can attest that you have probably been far less shocked by your own words, actions, and attitudes; while equally as sinful and far from pleasant, this is the sickness of our sin. Sin covers up our true self and lives as though we are better than we actually are. Our nature, when left to itself: is sinful, imperfect, and downright ugly. It is also offensive to God.
We were God’s ENEMY.
We deserved to die from the wrath of God. He is perfect. We are so prideful that we fight to hide our imperfection. He is blameless. We are so broken that we act like we are better than others. He is King over all creation. We cry sometimes like little children who don’t get their way.
“Jesus said, "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing." And they divided up his clothes by casting lots.”
We sit in quarantine. Our sin, heavy. The sin of others, heavy. The weight of the world, heavy.
Often commended as a rather joyful and pleasant person, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, while in prison awaiting his sentencing for his plot to try and overthrow Adolf Hitler, wrestled with this battle between the weight of sin and spirit. Even at the very end of his life, still wrestling, he came to this conclusion:
Who am I? This one or the other?
Am I this one today and tomorrow another?
Am I both at once? Before others a hypocrite,
And in my own eyes a pitiful, whimpering weakling?...
Who am I? They mock me, these lonely questions of mine.
Whoever I am, thou knowest me; O God, I am thine!
Oh God, thank you for the cross. Thank you for Jesus who is far more loving than we'll ever be. Oh God, forgive us because we do not know what we do. Only you, Oh God, see the depths of our sin and still choose to love us. It is only because of the death of your Son on the cross that we can call ourselves yours. For anyone reading this who does not know the power of your love, have mercy, reveal yourself as only you can. God, thank you that because of your Son, we can be called thine!