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Aug 2009

No Condemnation

No condemnationMy baseline sin is probably a self-righteous justification of myself.  At least, that is what I tend toward.  But I have been thinking of an opposite but equally dangerous sin: unrighteous self-condemnation of ourselves.

Romans 7 and 8 speak to this dynamic: “In my inner being I delight in God’s law, but I see another law at work in me…” and unfortunately, that new law is intent on deceiving us and ruining our lives.  Gratefully, because of the rescue work of our glorious Savior, our allegiance is now only to Christ…not to a set of rules.

Ah, rules.  Just today I was trying to explain to my 8 year old why she had to write thank you notes for birthday presents when, “I already said thank you, Mommy!”  All my efforts at explaining social norms came to naught and I finally had to threaten to pull out a manners book to show her where the rule was in the book- but I had to clarify that this rule wasn’t like the Real Rules that we teach her from the Bible; it was a rule because she was a young Southern American whose last name happened to be DeRoco.

Our lives are full of such rules- not the Timeless Truths, but social constructs that bring health, order, relationship, and sanity to our families.  But we err when we allow a multitude of other people’s constructs to pile on us until we can barely rise under them.

Here’s how it happens: we know a woman who keeps a really neat house, and honors her husband by doing so.  And another friend does a fabulous job of meal planning, so ordering her family’s evenings admirably.  Yet another aquaintance, so they say, can work from home five days a week while her kids nap and never seems to sacrifice family time.  And don’t forget the woman whose bag of tricks appears to include not sleeping- that’s the only way she could ever get the laundry done along with the activities she provides for her kids.  And the list goes on.  If you’re prone to self-condemnation, you probably already feel the weight of these expectations on you after just reading this paragraph.

Since we also want to honor our husbands, order our families, keep family time, and do the laundry, we decide that our personal standard will include copying the very best skills and talents of each of these women.  Alas, we fail- unable to do what ten other people independently do well- driven by the deceptive law of sin.

The glorious truth of the gospel speaks to us:  “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, for the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death.”  My Pharisaic side wants to balance out this truth- to make sure you know that doing your best really is a good thing.  But there is no balance to the words, “There is therefore now no condemnation…”  None means none.  Thanks be to God!



Jerry Titus

August 19 2009 Reply

I have read several of your posts and want you to know that they have blessed me in many ways. Thank you.

Jerry Titus

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