J.S. Park

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Posts tagged with "regret"

Question: Going Numb Over My Sin

imageAnonymous asked:

What do you do if you’re no longer remorseful about a sin? Specifically for lust/pornography/masturbation. There was a breakthrough and holding off for a while, but when i fell more recently, there was no remorse in my heart really…

 

My dear wonderful friend: double-high five and long awkward hug. You are winning.  Please consider the sweet delicious irony of your message.

1) You cared enough about not-caring to message me.

2) You are aware that you feel no remorse, so … that’s remorse.

3) You’re aware of the word sin, which means your heart is already in the right place about moving forward in victory.

I think one of the biggest lies a Christian believes is when feelings somehow dictate the progress of growth and maturity.  Do you know who else doesn’t “feel remorse” after sin?  Or feel God after sin, for that matter?  Pretty much mostly almost definitely everyone.

 

Let’s ask this a different way.  I promise I’m not trying to be snarky and I’m saying this because I love you.

Should I only not punch children when I feel like not punching them?

Should I only not do crystal meth when I’m already in a good mood?

Should I only not do 150 mph through a parking lot when it’s empty?

You get what I mean.  If you were to tell me, “I wanted to just not wave nicely to that driver who cut me off and maybe even flip him my longest finger!” — well by golly, you’re a human being just like me.

While there is certainly a case for those who go completely numb over sin (1 Timothy 4:2, Ephesians 4:18-19, Hebrews 3:13), I just don’t believe you’re in that category.  Even if you were, you can still come back from that.  I’ve also met guys who abuse grace like a diet pill after a hamburger, and even though God’s grace can never be exhausted, those guys were a-holes.  You’re not in that category either.

 

You know: I have never really found that remorse actively prevents someone from sinning again.  If you think that works, it’s actually the exact opposite.  People who get really regretful over sin tend to enter moral exhaustion, and will eventually sin more to alleviate their guilt. 

I do think that remorse points to a reality that something is wrong in human nature — but even if you were the world’s sorriest guy, it’s not a motivation to overcome your issue.  I’ve seen dudes sob like babies over their consequences only to run back to their old life the next day.  Maybe they thought their sobbing was enough to make God turn a blind eye.  That’s what you call the worldly sorrow, and that won’t work.

My friend, no matter how you feel or don’t feel: obey God anyway.  Do not believe for a second that this is legalism.  As I’ve said before, effort is NOT legalism.  The reason why God gave us commands is because He knows what’s best for us and He knows what will most lead to life — and some days you’ll be on fire for His law, and other days you won’t.  We’re a mess of complex human emotions that can be affected by a spicy taco or an off-night of sleep, so don’t feel bad if you feel bad and don’t feel bad if you don’t feel bad.  Obey God anyway, and by His grace — not your feelings — you will make it.  Jesus not only understands your moments of numbness, but He will restore your dead heart with his very own as you walk with him. 

— J.S.

Question: Regrets About Wasted Time

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Anonymous asked:

How do you overcome the wasted time and regret that comes with depression? God is in the process of healing me, but I look back and see the damage that depression has done: my mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual health; friendships and relationships, my family, my academic career. People say stuff like it’s not wasted time because God is growing something deeper in you, but the fact is a lot of time HAS been wasted. Nothing will ever bring back those years. How do you grapple with that?

 

I’ve struggled with depression since forever, so I’m right there with you.  I know what it’s like to think of those “fogged out” patches of life and mourn over why we couldn’t have just done better.

But please, dear friend: you really can’t beat yourself up about this. 

Let’s think through what you’re asking.  There are always some questions that will lead to a “Gotcha.”

For example:

- Do you ever think you could’ve tried harder?

- Have you ever been happier than now?

- Do you feel like no one understands?

- Is there more you could be doing?

I hope you see what I’m doing.  The answer to all these is, “Of course bro.”  If I ask, "Do you feel like you have regrets over wasted time?" — then nine out of ten people will scream YES and overthink and start wallowing in self-pity.  These questions will almost never have satisfactory answers.

This mind-bomb already condemns you before asking. 

It’s a technique used by New Age, Scientology, pop psychologists, and the preacher who doesn’t know better.  It sets up an angst in your soul so you have to buy-the-book or go-to-the-conference or jump-through-these-hoops.

No more of these questions, all right?  We’re done with that.

 

The thing is: You can’t really make up for lost time.  If you try to compensate for what’s behind you, you won’t be able to look ahead.  It’s like starting a race from negative two laps.  This is a losing game, and the only way to win is to admit loss and start over.

When I first learned how to drive, I had a bad habit of looking in the rearview mirror all the time. My dad would tell me: Don’t worry about the car behind you.  That’s their job.  You look straight ahead.

Sounds like something Jesus said: Don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself.

I’m not telling you to never look in the rearview.  I’m saying: We can’t live our lives looking both forward and backward at the same time.  

It’s okay to feel regret, but this can’t be the determining axis on your story.  There is a time to mourn, but there’s also a time to stand again.

 

You know this already, yet the devil’s lie in this whole thing is that you can somehow “repay” the hurt you’ve done. But the truth of Jesus is that he left Heaven to die and rise for the very regrets that you’re facing. 

As much as you might not feel this now, God has already preempted your every failure and disobedience and misstep with grace upon grace upon grace.  This means that even the “lost time” is in God’s hands, and it’s somehow being transformed into a good that we cannot comprehend.  But that’s all the more reason we move forward and pursue Christ, not less.  That’s even more reason to get the help you need, to seek forgiveness, repair relationships, rebuild community, and gain trust again. 

None of this will be easy, but it won’t be any easier if you keep looking over your shoulder.

Today, simply declare bankruptcy on your old life.  Begin again with Christ.

Right now, God has already gone ahead of you with all grace and is ready to accomplish amazing things through you.  He offers Himself, which is already enough. Hold onto His grace and cast off anything else that impedes.  We don’t get many second chances in the world, but we always have a second chance with Christ. 

 

“Relying on God has to begin all over again every day as if nothing had yet been done.”

— C.S. Lewis

 

— J.S.

The Secret Guilt of Announcing Your Past To Look Humble

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The other day a dude from my not-so-wonderful past was among me and my friends and I felt some twitchy reflex to appear humble and self-aware: so I said to no one in particular, “Man when we used to be friends, I was such a jerk.”

Whenever an old friend pops up, I’m always apologizing for my past.

He looks right at me and says, “Yes, yes you were. I still endured you all those years.”

I expected something like, “Oh you weren’t too bad” or “You’ve changed so much now” — because dang it, that’s how this is supposed to work. Social courtesy demands that when I fish for compliments, I catch a freaking bass.

This guy knew what I was doing and he did not let it go so easily. God bless him, he called me out on my little Humility Game.

It got me to wonder if I’m actually sorry when I say it, or if I’m just trying to prove I changed by expressing an automatic public remorse. At times it feels like a preprogrammed script. Mostly it feels like a helpless compensation for the horrible things I’ve done.

In the midst of all this is a white hot spear that runs through my regret and unravels this suffocating fog of shame: and every time, I don’t want to believe it’s true. It’s too easy somehow. It’s not enough. I have to make up for myself. I deserve to pay for my past and to suffer the consequences.

But this blade punctures the fog, melts it away, pierces the guilt, tears into the script, and cuts into the past and present on both ends like a surgical javelin.

It’s simply grace.

Grace threatens my manmade effort to uphold my own security.  It destroys false humility.  It kills my attempts to regain control of my reputation: because it makes us all so even.  At the cross, it makes my every apology so weak: and I can only throw myself at His mercy.

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It Doesn’t Always Stick: Quit Blaming Yourself Over The Prodigal

The rising star in your church could just as quickly be a crashing fireball that burns out in seconds.

But at some point you need to quit punching yourself in the jaw and pick up your teeth from the tile.

Unless you held a gun at their head, it’s not your fault.

I know you’re mad at them, just as much as you’re mad at yourself. They were the ones who attended everything, who served every time, who called you at midnight when they were in trouble. You texted and emailed and Facebook chatted every day. You prayed over them on your knees at night, hoping God would lead them in incredible ways. You spent more time and money and energy on them than even your own family.

All for what? For them to cut you off like you never existed.

You could’ve done more, probably. There’s guilt about how you lashed out, how you could’ve made the church more cool, how you could’ve called more, wrote more, spent more.

But he’s gone. She left. You can leave the ninety-nine to get the one, but after all: there’s still ninety-nine.


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