Do you know how many world changing revolutions started with a small group of committed people decided to do things differently?
All of them.
So it starts with us – and in keeping with the recovery theme, step 4 of the twelve step program is this:
We made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
We need to quit rationalizing, to quit blaming, to quit talking about our parents and look in the mirror. Christians believe that when sin came into the world it broke everything. I’m messed up and you are messed up. We could all hold hands with Congress and say we are messed up; we’re broken. And part of our brokenness and part of the human condition make it very difficult to own and to embrace our responsibilities for some of the decisions that we’ve made, especially if somebody else comes along and gives us a good excuse to use and to replay for the rest of our lives.
Our current obsession with tolerance isn’t about love, it’s about moral cowardice. I don’t want to face my own sin, or the things I do that are just wrong and I need to own it and work to change it. But if I adopt a philosophy that says – you do whatever you want, just try not to hurt anyone… then I can have my pet evil and ask you to leave me alone about it. Maybe I can even lie to myself.
But God has something else to say here. There’s a really important verse of scripture, in the book of Jeremiah.
Jeremiah 17:9 -The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?
The context for this verse is a series of bewildering and ill-conceived uprisings by the Jews against the Empire of Babylon and Nebuchadnezzar. Those rebellions ended about like you would expect them to, with the Israelites crushed and Jerusalem in flames. It made no sense. And, like Israel, our greed and ambition and self-destruction often seem crazy in hindsight.
The heart of man is deceitful and it is beyond cure. It is natural for you, it is natural for me, it is instinct for me, it is instinct for you not to do a fearless, moral inventory. It is natural; it is instinctive to me to create a story so I can bypass the truth about me like you bypass the truth about you.
The first step to a way out is a fearless moral inventory. How can we be forgiven unless we admit fault? How can we repent of something we’re not honest about in the first place?
The good news (literally) is that God did something amazing. He announced forgiveness in advance. When we understand grace… and know that God will cover us no matter what we’ve done, there’s nothing we can’t bring to Him. We don’t need to hide with Adam in the garden. We can be transparent and honest with God and with ourselves, and that starts us on the road to recovery.
It’s time to stop hiding… to be fearless in owning our mistakes in transparency before God and honesty with ourselves. How can we repent from something if we never really own it enough to admit it? It’s scary to really do this. But it’s also incredibly liberating. Real forgiveness and freedom is right on the other side of the door.