We are on spring break this week, so I am posting a Lenten essay from the archives. May it bless you this week.
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I really hate admitting that I cannot do something. I have experienced quite a few tragedies that occurred because I was unable to swallow that thing inside of me that rises up and prevents me from asking for help.
The one notable exception is raising children. I am all about seeking out advice when it comes to my children (which is its own problem because too much advice leads to indecision which invariably leads to paralysis). This is not by any particular virtue of my own, rather it is because I am completely terrified of irreversibly messing up another human being.
Messing up my own life, however, is fine, because whatever the thing is, I can do it.
Even if I cannot.
This causes a definite problem, however, when it comes to my faith. I want to be able to be good enough, to make myself righteous enough, to climb up the ladder and reach God all on my own.
I would have done well in Babel.
I want to do it myself so that I can then take credit. I want to be proud of my own accomplishments. I want, in short, to seek and worship myself.
God, however, is quite clear. We can never rise up to Him, so He, in His infinite mercy, came down to us.
This is folly and this is scandal. It cannot be understood by our own reason and intelligence. This is offensive. It offends our pride to know that there is nothing for us to do.
God is too high and holy and our sin is too deep and depraved for us to be able to reach God.
Our souls become crippled and cramped by trying to rise to the highest height. The end is despair, or a self-righteousness that leaves room neither for love of God nor for love of others. ~ Emil Brunner