Why is it so hard for us to be self-aware?
I am always amazed sometimes at how ignorant we all are when it comes to pointing the finger at ourselves. If you believed us, there’s really no sin in any of us. It’s always someone else’s fault. Either that, or the circumstances in which we find ourselves are at fault. It’s no longer “the world, the flesh, and the devil,” but “the devil, the others around me, and my circumstances” that completely accounts for my “failures” (heaven forbid we should use the word “sin”).
I see this blinkered existence in countless people, especially when they’re called on something that they’ve done wrong. What is always the reaction? “You’re unloving,” “If you hadn’t done this first, then I wouldn’t have responded this way,” “God made these circumstances the way they are, and I couldn’t help myself,” etc. Blame-shifting. Never mind the fact that no one and nothing outside of ourselves can force us to do any sinful act. The most that can be said is that other people and/or our circumstances provide the opportunity for temptation. The sin comes ONLY from our own hearts.
But we are born casuists. A casuist is another name for someone who is spectacularly good at finding loopholes. It was said of W.C. Fields while on his deathbed that he was frantically reading the Bible. One of his friends asked him what he was doing, and he replied, “Looking for loopholes.” Well, I’m here to say that the law of God doesn’t have any loopholes. It skewers us no matter how hard we try to squirm out of its grip. The only answer is to acknowledge our skeweredness and put our trust and confidence in the One Who was skewered for us (literally).
But what I really want to address is our attitude towards our own sin, and what our reaction is to when it is uncovered. Usually, our reaction is plainly due to the fact that we were found out, and that our mask was stripped off of us. No more. We usually aren’t that sorry for the actual sin committed. We aren’t sorry that we’ve offended God. We’re like the kid who was caught with his hand in the cookie jar and who says “I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry” desperately, in order to avoid the punishment. He isn’t sorry at all that his hand was in the cookie jar. He was sorry he got caught. He (and we also) want sin without sin’s consequences. But when our sin is exposed, we need to be thankful. There is that joy that comes from the relief of not having the guilt of that sin rotting away in our bones. There is a relief of purity. If only we could think of that when we are confronted. I am convinced sanctification could be a bit easier if we take that attitude, rather than be offended when our hypocrisy is revealed for all to see.