Sin and temptation are ugly things. Sometimes we try to dismiss or discount them. For example:
- We shrug off lust by saying ‘it’s just the way I am’ or ‘doesn’t everybody struggle with some form of that?’
- We reclassify anger issues as justifiable or the other person’s fault.
- We excuse an addiction with ‘it helps me cope’ and ‘I can quit anytime I want.’
- We write off a proclivity toward gossip as ‘sharing a need’ or ‘something people have to know about.’
But in the end there is no valid way to ‘pretty up’ the temptation or dismiss the sin. If it doesn’t honor God, it’s ugly – plain and simple.
I speak from experience. I wouldn’t assume anything I write would be worth paying attention to otherwise. My issues will not be the same as yours. My perspective on certain issues will not be the same as yours. We all travel different paths. But rest assured my path has been littered with its share of mistakes and hurt.
I will not go into detail on what my sin is, any more than I would care to know the specifics of yours. Details are often not productive to the general discussion. Suffice it to say that my faults and failures are ugly and have left deep stains. Where they began I do not know – and honestly that is irrelevant on today’s battlefield. With so many things there are large debates of nurture vs. nature. I don’t discount any side of those discussions, but one thing I do know is that when you’re in the heat of battle, you often don’t really care how the war began. You are in survival mode. If your struggle is with alcohol or drugs and you recognize their destructive power, how it got a hold on you is really not relevant – you want to defeat it. If you deal with unwanted homosexual attractions, it doesn’t matter whether there is a ‘gay gene’ or your desires developed through environment or experiences – you just want victory. And to different degrees the same can be said of countless other things – addictions, compulsive behavior, domestic violence, and on and on. Granted, some of these have more proven theories regarding causation than do others. Regardless, today’s battlefield is where the fight is fought.
So, where does that leave us? It leaves us in the midst of a fierce battle for freedom, and in need of a battle strategy. I propose a three-part strategy: (1) realizing the inherent ugliness of our struggles, (2) realizing that we need to deal with that ugliness appropriately, and (3) how to deal with it.
This post has intended to deal with (1). The next two posts will delve into (2) and (3). Together, this will hopefully form a solid groundwork for recognizing, acknowledging, and dealing with whatever ugliness haunts you.
Whether it is something in your past that you carry deep-seated guilt about, something recent that has left an open gaping wound, or an ongoing struggle…that ugly thing is being leveraged by the Enemy to hold you down. It’s time to get the upper hand.