If you're thrown - admit it
For reading & meditation: Psalms 22:1-11
"My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" (v.1)
We continue looking at the attitude of the psalmist, who does not hesitate to tell the truth about himself. As we saw, he admits that his feet had well-nigh slipped and his faith had almost gone. I find the psalmist's honesty both stimulating and refreshing, especially when compared to the tendency of many in today's Church to pretend that things are not as they are. Dr Martyn Lloyd-Jones said in one of his sermons: "I know of nothing in the spiritual life more discouraging than to meet the kind of person who seems to give the impression that he or she is always walking on the mountain top." I agree. You see, it is far more important to be honest than to appear to be the sort of person who is never thrown by problems. If you are not thrown, then fine; but if you are then admit it. But can't openness be a form of exhibitionism? Yes, it can. Some people may confess to failure as a means of drawing attention to themselves. But I do not believe that this was the psalmist's motive, for quite clearly he wrote the psalm to glorify not himself but God. The pathway to spiritual growth begins when we realistically and honestly face up to the struggles that are going on inside us. If we are so concerned about developing or preserving pleasant feelings that we ignore the negative feelings within us or pretend that they are non-existent, then we end up demeaning ourselves. An honest look may involve a struggle, but there is more hope in that for growth than there is in pretence or denial.
O God, teach me to be unafraid to look at anything - myself included. Make me strong enough in You not to need the defences of pretence and denial. You are on the side of honesty; I am on its side too. Help me. In Jesus' Name. Amen.
For further study:
1. What are we to do with our faults?
2. How are we to respond to those who share their struggles?
More in Every Day Light, with Selwyn Hughes
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