The one you thought you forgot

The event is going just right. You’re looking smashing…you feel like a million bucks. Cheek pecks are in abundance, laughter fills the air and the DJ seems to be reading your mind. Then it happens. You look up and you see him or her. Your EX. The one you never got over. What is he/she doing here???? OMG! What?? They are walking towards you. Not good. You’re trying to come up with a script for what to say and how to respond…how to look like you’re over him/her (even though you are not). You’re trying really hard to put on your poker face. You talk…you laugh…and lord knows what else happens…or “almost” happens…even if it’s only in your head.
The morning after conversation. You tell yourself that wasn’t supposed to happen, you remind yourself that you SHOULD be over him/her. You wonder why you were so vulnerable.

We’ve all been there; known someone who has, or imagined what it would be like.
Interestingly enough, it works the same way with sin…especially the sin we thought we forgot…only that it’s more lethal and subtle. This isn’t about comparing exes to sin, its more about comparing “the moment” of seeing an ex that we are not over yet, and coming face to face with a sin we thought we overcame or outgrew.

As we grow spiritually, we improve by God’s grace in many areas of our lives. We start to do those sinful things less and less, we gain more control of our bodies (hard …I know), we get a bit more confident and motivated in our pursuit of holiness, we build certain structures in our lives to protect that “holier” lifestyle-Church activities, quiet time, church friends, etc-

Then one day we find ourselves having the “moment after” or “hour after” or even “morning after” conversation with ourselves. Asking “how did I get here? How did I not catch myself before I said that or felt that or touched him…or her…or it?

Shame sets in. We start to think about how we were so good for so long. How could we just throw that away? How could we have been so sloppy and let out guard down against the very thing we know we shouldn’t do or say?

For some of us, we quickly look for the way back home. We run to the throne of mercy and we frantically knock on God’s door in the middle of the night. Knock! Knock! Knock!

Is he still awake? Does he know it’s us knocking? Does he already know what we did? Will he embrace us or will he slam the door in our face? Will he embrace us or will he order Michael or Gabriel to take us and lock us up somewhere?

He finally opens the door and finds us standing there…lower lip pushed forward… in the cold, shivering. We can t even look him in the eye. We feel filthy, ashamed and scared.

He lets us in and before he says a word we spill our guts and tell him all about what we did and how we will NEVER do it again.

His love for us is his weakness. He can’t stand the pain we feel for failing him. He is fighting the urge to scoop us up in his embrace, twirl us around, and tell us it’s ok. He doesn’t do that yet…rather; he puts us on his laps and turns us around like mother trying to see if her baby needs a change of diapers. He looks inside our hearts and sees that we are indeed filthy and full of doodle. Right away he orders a bath for us…a bath in his son’s blood.

What a privilege. What love from the one who has the power to kill and make alive.

As he releases us that night…fed, cleansed, forgiven, we look over our shoulders to see him at the door, watching us, waving at us as we go back into the world hopefully this time to be good for real. We feel so much better now…like a weight has been lifted off our shoulders…the weight of sin.

We still have to ask ourselves those important questions though. If we don’t take stock and objectively ask ourselves how we got there, then we don’t grow and sooner than later, we find ourselves right back at that door…knocking in the middle of the night for mercy. It gets old.

So how DID you get there?

1) You focused on the “record”. It stopped being a “one-day-at-a-time” thing. It became a holiness project. You hadn’t “done it” or “said it” or “felt it, him or her” for months and the fact that you’ve been so “good” becomes the source of your strength, complacency and ultimately, demise.

2) Your boundaries became a blur. When you started out trying to do better, you set these boundaries that were clear and well defined. You told yourself you weren’t even going to go near certain things because they got you in trouble. After a while, when those self disciplinary actions yield their good results of  keeping you out of trouble and keeping you focused on building a better you, you take your eyes off the discipline. You forget that YOU by yourself are not strong enough, complacency sets in and ultimately, your demise.

3) You forgot what it felt like to fail God.You forgot what it felt like to stand outside that door…shivering in the rain, lower lip pushed forward as you knock on God’s mercy door in the middle of a cold night shivering, praying that God hears you and gives you just one more chance. You forgot what it felt like to fail God. You lost sight of “the fear of God is the beginning of wisdom”. Complacency set in, and your demise followed.

4) You changed environments.You see, when we settle on this path of “trying to be better”, we create structures around it in an attempt to protect ourselves from the opportunities to screw up. We cancel subscriptions to magazines that make our blood flow south bound at the speed of thought and we change our spending habits. We downgrade from micromini to miniskirts and we change from painted-on jeans to skinny jeans. We pack our week with church activities, we make sure Friday night is packed with one church event or other; we even throw away the things and the friends that get us in trouble. Structure. Its good but it can only take you so far because soon enough, the structures if really backed by your daily thirst for holiness, will probably keep you out of any major trouble. What happens however, when we are taken out of that environment?

We go we go on a staycation or a vacation, old friends back in town or new friends we don’t want to disappoint? A social event out of town or a business trip? A trip with the boys or girls night out? Suddenly, we find out that the structures that seemed to protect us are not there for that moment. We are out of our element. What happens when suddenly, we are not accountable to anyone or anything in that structure? Those sleeping giants wake up and want to get a taste. They want to wild out and you let your guard down. The sin you thought you forgot, remembers you. You feel the rush. You get a taste. You see, you failed already by putting your strength in the structure. Your holiness was not sustainable. Your complacency was always lurking and unfortunately, so was your demise.

You see, you failed already by putting your strength in the structure. Your holiness was not sustainable. Your complacency was always lurking and unfortunately, so was your demise.

So what do you do?

TAKE STOCK, REPENT AND REGROUP. This time, let your holiness be a day by day thing where your strength is only found in the spirit of God.

Sometimes that’s all you CAN do. This time though, let your holiness be a day by day thing where your strength is only found in the spirit of God.

P.S You might want to read:  That Moment When You Feel You’re Losing Deep Connection With God