Monday, November 5, 2012

Sins of a father

I am not one to tout things as being life-changing, or to say that someone else's words change my outlook on life or caused me more than a moment to reflect. Outside of the gospel of God's inextinguishable, undeserved and unmerited favor to bestow grace upon us to the extent that, as Paul says, while I was yet a sinner, Christ died for me... that truth is truly life changing. I am a sinner, and so are you... until the day I cross into the eternal glory of a perfect Heaven, and until I am undertaken through what I can only imagine to be the beautifully excruciating and perfectly sublime experience of full glorification, when I will shed the beaten and destroyed shell of my flesh and enter into a glorified, perfect body... on that day, and only then, will I no longer be a sinner. I sin by choice, not because I don't know how to not, but because I still fall prey to trying to satisfy the hunger of my soul with things of this world. Often with good things, things like my wife's love, or my children's joy... great things, intended by God to be blessings and glimpses into His reality... but I use them so often to replace God. I forget that it is my obedience to His will, and submission to His work through my life, that I will walk, filled by the spirit and pouring out those wonderful fruits of love, and joy. They are to be celebrated as glorifying to His splendor. I forget that often, and worse, I sometimes choose to fulfill my thirst with things of this world that lie in direct opposition to  the glory of God. I struggle through the battle of my two natures, as Paul called it, and I choose to fight the battle on my own, not seeking the strength of God that resides within me...

I am a sinner, that much is for sure... but something different happens now when I find myself making decisions based on my flesh... It starts when I remember a phrase. A phrase I would actually call life-changing... one of the first messages I can remember hearing our pastor preach after coming to our church, he said these words (or at least something like them)-- If left unchecked, the sins of the father will be multiplied in the sins of the children.

Conviction begins, so often, with those words echoing in my mind... followed by scriptures relating to parenting, and righteous living, and being a man of integrity... then, I see my kids, their smiles, and most of all their eyes. My kids were blessed to receive the deeply beautiful, piercing eyes of their mom. They have long been my favorite physical feature of her, and when I see those eyes, I feel the weight of my sin. I think about what the future will look like through those eyes. My heart breaks when I think about the sins they will endure through their lives, and the role the my current sin will play. If left unchecked... I am passing along a foothold for Satan to use to get to my kids. If I continue to take back the control and refuse to give it to God... I hate to think of what my kids will have to go through. Life is hard enough, dealing with your own bad choices, you don't need the sins of your father following you around. But what breaks my heart more is knowing that if I leave my sin unchecked, my kids will have to check it for themselves, or let it ruin them... we see this in families where dad's an alcoholic, son grows up, either compounds it as an abusive alcoholic, or has never touched the stuff because he wasn't going to be like his dad. A graphic example, but a true look at the concept.

This all goes through my head, the weight of it slamming through my soul, when I am confronted with my sins. It happens so fast, but the feeling lingers, my innermost being cries out to the God who created all things, I echo once more the words of Paul... searching out why I continue to do that which I do not want, and not do that which I desire... and this Creator of everything, forgives me... reminds me that my sins were nailed to the cross. my sins were part of that darkness the Jesus felt, as He was torn into separation from His Father. It was for that sin, the one I just committed, that Jesus cried out in agony as His heart literally, and brutally broke. My God reminds me that it was no small price to reconcile my sins, but that it was paid. He reminds me to stand up, and lead my family. He comforts me with words of grace, and promises of love.

I am a sinner, and I am redeemed... at a high price, that was willfully paid.

My sin is real, and needs to  be checked, so I can lead my family... so that maybe, just maybe, my sins won't be theirs to bear.

I am a sinner, saved by grace through faith, it is not of myself so that I may not boast...

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