For I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my flesh [my human nature, my worldliness—my sinful capacity].
Romans 7:18Ok, so for those of you who looked at my title, and are wondering what in the world Carl Rogers has to do with the Bible, let me explain.
Carl Rogers is the founder of what we now know as "client-centered therapy" and his own version of the humanistic psychologist. He is well known for his "unconditional positive regard" theory in dealing with clients. And, to be honest, he did way more harm than good. I can see how the humanistic theory is popular: I cannot see how it is effective.
Enter Saul/Paul, a man who murdered Jews for fun. A man so filled with hatred, that his name preceded him wherever he went. Now, after a brief (but obviously meaningful) encounter with Jesus, he dedicates himself to Christ, and ends up writing two-thirds of the freaking New Testament. There are records of people laying in his freaking shadow and being healed. No doubt-eth, this guy had light coming off of him: his faith unshakeable.
And yet, he knows something about himself that we really, really, need to know about ourselves.
Guys: there is nothing good in us. Not. One. Single. Freaking. Thing. And the sooner we learn that, the sooner we can experience freedom.
God can do more with us in one minute than we could ever do for ourselves. There is more freedom in a good, solid minute of actual repentance, than from a lifetime of our own self-justification. Sometimes, what we need is not a loving hug, sweet words, and a chocolate bar. That sounds awesome. But sometimes, we really need to take a long, hard sniff at our own self-righteous little attitudes, our entitlement, our privilege, our selfishness, our anger, our lust, our crazy thinking and realize... man...this has gone too far.
I am a terrible person. On a daily basis, I lose it with my kids; I get frustrated with my husband (who may or may not have even been present; it may just be my thoughts going rampant) I get lazy; I get angry; I plan and scheme and worry about money; I eat too much; I eat the wrong things; I spend too much time on Facebook; I spend too much money; I lose self-control; I secretly judge other people without even knowing them; I secretly envy people that I will never meet. Without the Holy Spirit and His "SHUT UP" filter (that admittedly gets pretty clogged) I'd be in jail. No bail. No probation. Jail.
It's easy from the human standpoint to say, "You're doing your best! You're a good mom! It's hard to parent when you had such a hard life! It's hard to be a mom!" When in reality, No. No, I'm not a good mom all the time. That's a hard pill to swallow, but it's the absolute truth.
It's so easy for us to look at the Bible and say, "But we're not under the law" etc, etc. "There's no condemnation for us who are in Christ." And those are accurate sayings! There is no condemnation: but there is conviction. I'm not going to hell for getting angry at my children. I'm not going to hell for being jealous, or wallowing in self-pity. That doesn't mean that I don't have to acknowledge it.
When we wallow in self-justification, we are essentially giving up all control. "Well, it's been a hard day, so I deserve to eat whatever I want." If I can justify the action, then I have to justify the consequences: "It's been a hard day, I deserve to feel even more sluggish than I already do. You know, maybe I'll just stop and get some joint pain and nausea on the way home. Maybe diabetes for dessert." That sounds preposterous, but so does the initial justification.
And before you give me the "it's not that simple" lecture, let me assure you: it IS that simple. It's not easy. But it is that simple.
Listen, I was once so wrapped in my own dysfunction that I lost a marriage, a job, a home, most of my friends, and an entire future. While I could blame every single action on my eating disorder, my dysfunctional upbringing, or a number of forces that other people would say, "yeah, ok, I can see that." NONE OF IT WAS JUSTIFIABLE. I'm not trying to come at this from a standpoint of "I've been perfect, now suck it up" mentality. I'm coming to you from someone who has stood on the edge of the freaking abyss. I remember the moment(s) when I realized... "holy crap... this is really that bad."
I pray that for you. I pray you get the realization that something really is that bad. It's the most terrifying, freeing moment of your life. When you realize that all of your life has been this facade of "good" and what everyone wanted to see. The Bible calls it "whitewashing" of our souls. (Acts 23:3) where we cover what is essentially our own filth, and make it look like something that is pure. Instead of actually cleaning it, we cover it in our own mixture of perfection, thinking that if we can fool everyone else, then we can fool ourselves. Eventually, we buy into our own lie.
Don't do that to yourself. It's time we take a good look at ourselves for who we are. The good news?
It takes a nanosecond for his forgiveness.
And that's when we realize:
repentance isn't meant to be a punishment.
Repentance is a privilege.
Mommas, don't let another day of delusion keep you from God's absolute best. It may sting a bit to face up to what has happened. But I promise you - I promise you - that the dividends are worth it.