It is perfectly described in Lam 1:20 and it assaults me when I know have done something wrong, been rebellious or crossed the line between right and wrong, obedience and disobedience. This distress comes over us when we stop running from our sinfulness and pause.
Pausing, I see my heart sins of jealously, envy, judgmental whisperings or even words spoken aloud. I come face to face with the dark side of my heart.
I remember sitting in church one Sunday, years ago, and watching a family shuffle in, late, unkempt and a bit noisy. Looking down the row at my polished, well dressed and relatively quiet kids, I judged that mom with thoughts of “at least my kids…”
Without any grace or understanding, sprinkled with pride, I judged her because I was feeling lousy about myself, and regretted how badly our morning had gone. Judging her made me feel better – at least momentarily.
Our chaotic morning included tense words about wearing the right socks with black patent leather Mary Jane’s, and impatience as I fixed my daughter’s hair the way I wanted it to look rather than leaving it in her more creative style. I mean, we had an image to uphold.
I think about that moment now, and realize how ugly…how sinful I was. Socks, hair, and attire don’t really matter and my focus on these things had far more to do with how I would appear – an all together mom- than anything else. My motives were screwed up and hidden under the guise of “this is what you are supposed to wear to church.”
And that poor mom who I judged because I was feeling insecure and unsettled. I soothed myself by thinking- at least my kids were well dressed and well behaved- I looked at her and found a way to make myself feel better at her expense.
Yuck!! Just writing that makes my stomach churn.
She didn’t deserve my that. Who was I to judge her in order to feel better about myself?
And my poor kids. They became poster children for my perfectionism and insecurities.
This is the ugly sinfulness in my heart. I need God to come and wash me clean; to fill me with rest, security and a sense of self that comes from knowing who I am in Christ… not from my kids look, behave or anything else!
When I turn my eyes from finding my value in Christ, my mind and heart seek validation elsewhere; I hustle for my worthiness, even at the expense of a struggling sister. Yuck, again.
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Have you ever done that?
Why? Why would we do this to another woman, another mom who is most likely struggling as much as we are? In some twisted way, it makes us feel better about ourselves, less messy, chaotic and for a brief moment silences the self critic. But at what cost?
We have all felt judged by other moms and women. And if we are honest, we have all judged. We have to stop doing this to each other. Let’s admit it: being a woman, wife and mom is hard! We need grace for ourselves and we must offer it to each other.
The sins that make my stomach church and my heart sick are jealousy, judgment, envy, strife, doubt, worry, fear, scrambling… Anything that springs from refusing to live from and find value in my identity as a daughter of the King – anything that makes me hustle for my worthiness is rebellion against God.
I doubt God’s goodness, love, provision and the value of my place as His. And this fuels my sinful thoughts and actions of finding validation and worth through other means which sadly includes judging others.
As I read She Reads Truth today and thought about the verses, Psalm32:1-11, Psalm 51:1-6 and Lamentations 1, I paused to dig deeper. I am a firm believer in embracing the wonder of redemption, forgiveness and living into our “divine design” as daughters of the King.
I love the freedom and rest that comes through Grace. So, I don’t spend a lot of time thinking about my sinfulness, but rather, what it means to live redeemed and made new. (Read more about Grace here.)
But I needed to pause today and remember how crafty and deceiving my heart can be. How easily I can get caught up in the heart sins Jesus talked about…How desperately I need Jesus to remind me of who I am and whose I am, and the Spirit to continue to change and grow me into Christlikeness.
So I will take some time today to repent, to receive forgiveness and to renew my heart with the awareness that I am His. And that is enough.
Can you relate? What sins make your stomach churn and your heart sick? I invite you to take some time to repent and receive God’s forgiveness. You will feel better, I promise!
How would finding your value in Jesus help you to offer grace to yourself and others? Please share your thoughts in the comments below.
Together we grow,