Continuing from last week, transformation from death to life starts with the realization that we’re jumbled, broken souls, but not worthless souls.
You and I can humbly acknowledge our ruined condition without self-contempt, for that’s a seed that lays deep roots and grows into a spirit of contempt for others.
It creates double-mindedness and a divided heart instead of an undivided one. How can you love neighbors consistently or be spontaneously kind to enemies when you’re not even prepared to love yourself?
The person you are inside is the person you are when your guard is down—like after you’ve had too much wine. Everyone knows the happy drunk or the belligerent drunk, and it’s common to hear, “That was the alcohol talking last night.” But it was really the true person sneaking out when alcohol put the guard to sleep.
A member of my family was married years ago to a charming guy who became verbally and physically abusive when he drank. When he was sober, he was always deeply, genuinely, terribly sorry. He tearfully pleaded for (and received) forgiveness. But he never changed.
The fact is regret alone has no transformative power. Forgiveness alone won’t move you into the promised land of wellness. While these are necessary components of Christian repentance, the driving force behind transformation is a clear vision of who you can become, the willing choice to change, a sensible, knowledgeable way to do it, and then following it. God supplies everything but the willingness and the following. (more…)