This past week I managed to break seven of the ten commandments (1, 3, 4, 5, 8, 9, 10) and filled out the completion card on the ‘seven deadly sins’. Stumbling upon this list (here) in my wanderings through the interwebs, I could probably check off most of these as fulfilled (I didn’t fact-check this list but it can be viewed more of an example of “sins”). If there were a scale going from the ‘Good Christ-like’ down to the ‘Bad Shitty Christian’, I’d be near the bottom.
When I look back and really study my actions, my thoughts, and my words I realize that I didn’t do so great a job. I put myself before others, I didn’t welcome the stranger, and I didn’t feed the hungry. I used God’s name in vain when I was upset, I have put technology at the forefront of my life, and I have been very unproductive. I’ve shown a few people my middle finger, I’ve gossiped, and I’ve coveted things others have that I don’t. I’ve been overly-proud of my accomplishments at school, stared too long at women, and eaten more than I should have. I’ve skipped out on the sabbath, lied about a few little things, and haven’t called my parents. And honestly, that was probably all just from this past Sunday.
I don’t mean to live my life like this – I’m not intending on being a poor example of what a Christian should be, and I don’t wake up each morning with some nefarious plan in my mind about all the shenanigans I’m going to get into. Each morning I wake up hoping that that day will be a good day and that I can do my best to serve God and others in my actions, thoughts, and words. Then I get out of bed and begin my quick descent into sinfulness.
How is it that I have this desire to be Christ-like, but end up being such a bad example that I should just deny my faith (I’m sure that’s a sin) in order to preserve it’s image for others? I know I can’t say ‘the devil made me do it’ – my 4th grade Sunday school teacher squashed that excuse. And I can’t really blame others for my actions, words, or thoughts – sure, that person may have cut me off on the highway, but they didn’t force me to point at the sky with my middle finger. It’s all on me. I am in control of me and what I choose to say, think, and do.
In my summer Biblical Greek course we translated the Lord’s Prayer found in Matthew 6, and I came to the part where it says, “And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.” The word ‘deliver’ comes from the Greek word rhysai (ρυσαι) and while it can mean ‘deliver’, it can also mean to rescue, to draw to oneself, to snatch up, or to drag from. I relate to that last one, “And lead us not into temptation, but drag us from evil.” That’s usually the case with me – I am continually heading in the direction of evil, but God has to grab me by my shirt collar and drag me back into those Divine arms and hold me tight.
I’m a bad Christian because it’s easy for me to sink into the pit of sin – it’s easy to speak gossip, to swear, to lie, cheat, and steal. I can look at the good that God has for me, but the world and all its temptations are in my periphery. I’m easily tempted and I falter quickly because I’m human. And yet God is right there to grab me and pull me back, gently telling me “Nope, don’t do that” and allowing me to have a conversation before giving me a hug and sending me on my way again. I can only pray that one day I’ll get this being a Christian thing down pat before it’s all over. And I can only pray that God will be there time and time again when I fail time and time again.
much love. sheth.