26 August 2008

Character Flaws, Sin and Remediation

I have been thinking about my last post in which I offered to talk about how having a job has shown or magnified my character flaws. Before I do though, I want to distinguish between character flaws and sin. My character flaws predispose me to sin in certain areas more readily than in others. Indulging in my character flaws is sinful. Entertaining the idea of indulging my character flaws is sinful. They are the weaknesses in me where my flesh makes itself known by screaming, "You know you want to!!"

Too often I hear Christians lamenting that they "make mistakes" or are victims of their genetic make-up and intimate that they should, therefore, be excused from culpability for being prone to certain activities. Our cultural dependence on a medical model to define our behavior has given many what they see as a plausible excuse for sin. I don't see that caveat in the Word. For Christians, the Word is always our standard. It is the standard by which all will be judged. Can you imagine facing our Lord and saying, "Wait! I am not a heretic, I just have eisegesis and contextual discrimination disorder!"

One of the main benefits of my having a job has nothing to do with being able to pay my bills, although I am thankful for the opportunity to get out of debt. For over ten years the majority of the people in my life, outside of my family, have been Christians. As my unbelieving youngest girl would say, "Hard-core, actually live like they are Christians, Christians." Whether they are in my 'real' life or they are my cyber-siblings who only get to make occasional guest appearances into my 'real' life, the believers I associate with are the 'real deal'. I now find myself in the company of folks who are either culturally Christian, or Jewish or unbelievers. The combination of being around people, working in a job that requires a high level of customer service, learning all the ins and outs of a new field and being a flawed woman have been interesting for me to say the least. It has served to show me I am not all that- rather I am pretty ordinary with a heavy dose of crazing in my character.

I am lazy. I want to find the quickest way to accomplish a task and get it out of my realm of responsibility. This flaw makes it difficult to want to do it the right way, go through all the steps and take the extra time to insure no one else will have to come behind me and clean up my loose ends.

I am impatient. I don 't want to hear the whole story. I just want to hear the bottom line. Tell me what I have asked you, in the order I have asked you. This flaw makes me sound like a Field Marshall or um... bossy. I can be terse and entirely unfriendly if you make me spend a moment longer than I want to on your problem- and I don't want to spend any time fixing your errors, thank you very much.

I am a snob. I don't care to have my cubicle neighbor instruct me on all things Jewish. My neighbor cannot seem to understand that I have been to college and studied theology at a master's level. Additionally, they cannot seem to grasp that it is inappropriate to discuss religion at work or I would be evangelizing them. Do you detect my air of snobbery and pride? I am annoyed with my cubicle neighbor instead of seeing this as a great opportunity to dialog (after work) about the Messiah they are waiting for being the Christ I serve. No wonder God hates our pride so much. It is harmful to us and to others.

I am prone to fear man more than God. This revelation would surprise most people who know me because I appear to be quite fearless in most areas of my life. Bring on the trials and tribulations, I know how to do that stuff, or rather, I know how to depend on God to carry me through it. The fear I am talking about is the insidious sort that masquerades as wanting to fit in with your co-workers. What's wrong with that? You begin to sound and act like them more than you sound and act like Christ. It begins with a legitimate desire to not come off as 'holier than thou' but ends with not acting like you're holy at all.

And so there you have it, the short list of my besetting sins and a few of the character flaws that lead me into trouble. There are many more, I assure you. It isn't enough for me to list them and share them with you. I am responsible for them. I need to plead for forgiveness and remediation. Mercifully, the God I worship has provided a Mediator and Remediator for me.

Leviticus 20:8
8 'And you shall keep My statutes and practice them; I am the LORD who sanctifies you.

Hebrews 10:10
10 By this will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.

Galatians 5:17-26
17 For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please.
18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the Law.
19 Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality,
20 idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions,
21 envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you just as I have forewarned you that those who practice such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,
23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.
24 Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.
25 If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit.
26 Let us not become boastful, challenging one another, envying one another.

Psalm 31:23-24
23 O love the LORD, all you His godly ones! The LORD preserves the faithful, and fully recompenses the proud doer.24 Be strong, and let your heart take courage, all you who hope in the LORD.

Proverbs 29:23
23 A man's pride will bring him low, but a humble spirit will obtain honor.

3 For through the grace given to me I say to every man among you not to think more highly of himself than he ought to think; but to think so as to have sound judgment, as God has allotted to each a measure of faith.(NAS)


UpOnTheHill said...

You are so well-spoken. However, I am still left wondering about the growling. Have you mastered your ability not to growl in public places such as, oh, I don't know, Ross?

rosemarie said...

When I get to the "Old and crazy enough to growl in public" stage, I will make my debut with you! Deal?

Grace Baptist Church, Somerset, KY said...

Good post . . . you have got to get a change in work schedule . . . you are missed!!!

Pastor Bill

redsramblns said...

Thanks for your post! Oh how I can relate to being lazy, impatient (just get to the fact will ya [hee-hee]), and how snobby I can be with others. Oh, ya, an that fear of man thing -- gets me all the time. I'm supposed to share my testimony the last sunday night in October at my church -- I soooo don't want to! Boils down to fear of man. But you can't say no to sharing your testimony!

Thanks again Rosemarie! I kind of got out of the loop for a bit there. Hoping to come up for air pretty soon and get back into the swing of things.

Up On the Hill said...

It's a deal . . . only if we can growl inbetween the racks. Have you been able to spend much time in the racks since that eventful day?

rosemarie said...

Jenny- no but every time I consider it, I think of you. That day was so funny! Perhaps I will teach your little Jillian the way to make her mommy smile when you're shopping!

rosemarie said...

red- you are such a blessing to me, thanks for the kind comments.