Friday, September 4, 2015

That Scandal in Me

photo by Gil Medina

If I'm ever involved in a scandal, I hope you won't be shocked.  Sad, yes.  Maybe even horrified.  But please don't be surprised.

This has been a difficult couple of weeks in the Christian world, as we've seen some of our best, most respected leaders bite the dust under scandal.  It's been sad.  It's been horrifying.  But it shouldn't be shocking.

Sometimes I think we Christians have forgotten, and allowed the world to forget, that within each of us lies a despicable beast.  If we are children of God, then that sinful nature should be increasingly ruled by Him, but that doesn't mean the fight is over.  We've been given the weapons to fight it; we can beat it back and shout it into submission, and hopefully over time it will become more tame, but it will never be domesticated.

There was a story over 10 years ago about Las Vegas performers Siegfried and Roy, who were famous for their exotic animal shows.  One day, after 2000 performances with no incident, one of the tigers viciously attacked Roy, leaving him partially paralyzed.  Investigators were mystified.  They couldn't find any reason why the attack happened.  Maybe they just forgot that tigers will always be wild animals.  

We shine our shoes and our Bibles and put on happy smiles, but that beast is still there.  We can protect our children from everything evil and teach them to mind their manners and rattle off Scripture verses, but that beast still lies within them.  Sometimes, we get really good at painting it all up to look pretty, or maybe just throw a sheet over it, but it's still there.

I don't plan on being involved in a scandal, and this is not some thinly veiled attempt to get your imagination going.  I was born a rule-follower, and that's kept me out of a lot of trouble.  At this point in my life, I have nothing to hide.  You are welcome to have a look into my bank account and search engine history.

Just....don't look into my brain.  The beast is there, and he doesn't sleep.  His ugly head rears itself in my life with selfishness and laziness, a controlling nature and pride.  I shock myself with the thoughts that run through my head.  I push him back and pray hard and shout loudly at him, and he temporarily submits.  But the longer I live, the more I realize how powerfully vicious he really is.  How powerfully vicious I am.

Sometimes I worry about what people think of me, and then I remember that whatever awful things they may be thinking, in reality I am worse.  You might not believe what I am capable of.

Two things I've taken away from these days of reflection on the fallen among us.  One, that we should never underestimate the power of that beast.  We may think we've got our sinful nature under control, until one day the circumstances are just right, and it rises up and grabs us by the throat.  We must be on our guard.  We must never, ever think it couldn't happen to us.  

And Two, we've got to stop putting up this front to the world that once you're a Christian, the beast is gone.  Why must we pretend to each other, pretend to the world, that we've got it all together?  When we make everyone think that we're above the power of the beast, then why are we surprised when the world mocks us when we fall?

Let's remember who we were before Jesus saved us--broken, hopeless, beggars.  He has raised us up, but anything good that we do is from Him--certainly not from us.  Maybe if we were better at recognizing the power of sin in our lives, and the price that Christ paid for it, it would be much harder to fall.  Maybe then our reputation wouldn't be as those who think we are perfect, but as those who live by humility and grace.

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