1/23/2011: Better than them
I don’t know how to start this. People read what I write and people are concerned about first impressions. It’s like I know what to write but I don’t know how to disseminate the information. This is the gift of a teacher. A teacher knows stuff but he or she has to find a way to share the information so everyone else can understand as good as the teacher. Just as I’m trying to think how my former students think and process learning information, I’m trying to think of how to approach this. I’m glad when we go to heaven, time will not be a matter, so therefore, first impressions will not matter. I can spend infinity and infinity with everybody.
I just found out what an evil and wicked person I am. Of course I know that I’m evil and everyone is evil because we are born in sin, but I am just beginning to realize the extent of my sin and uncleanness. Knowing God is not a substitute for following God. I found this out the hard way. I can read so much about God, read the Bible, pray, love, etc, etc, but if I don’t follow Him, everything will go haywire. That no matter how much we know about God, we still cannot live righteously. The way to live righteously is to pick up our cross and follow God (Matthew 10:38). Knowledge about God cannot change sinful human nature.
This is where I failed yesterday. After a frustrating day of work, I came to my room and I’m glad I can finally detress and unwind with Sunday, a free day, ahead of me. There was nobody in our tent. I laid down on my bed and temptations came to me. This is your chance, my mind told me, there is nobody here. Nobody will know. I was tempted to check pornography. But then, I remembered what I wrote yesterday about the dangers of unwinding in God or in the world. I got up my bed and decided to write a discovery about my hardship when I was trying to sleep (but can’t) on Friday night and what I learned.
After writing about half-way, I had a need to use the latrine, so I went, took a dump, and came back. However, when I came back, my flesh won over. I thought screw it, I’m just going to check and relieve myself really quick. Nobody will know. Well, God will know, but He will be the judge. I have to; I can’t help myself. So I got out of bed, closed my half-written discovery without saving, and checked porn. Granted, I had a good time but I knew that short-term gain is not worth long-term pain. After that incident, my morals went downhill. I played computer games. Adult Japanese computer games. I did not eat dinner that night because I feel so afraid. Just as Adam hid in the bush after eating the forbidden fruit, I want to hide in my room and enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season. And that vicious cycle went on until today. When I realized that I’m not as good as a person I think I am.
I look at my battle buddies, fellow soldiers and they talk about sin openly. They talk about sex, girls, hate, they spread gossip, etc. They spend a lot of their time watching racy movies, some even porn movies. I know soldiers who have gigabytes of porn. I can’t believe it. They live on what feels good. I shun their behavior. I try to avoid them. I try to help them. But then, half an hour before I started writing this discovery, a realization came to my mind: That I am just as sinful, if not more sinful then they. The only thing that separates me from them is that I try to do good, that I try to follow God, that I have organized resistance against evil. I look at them and I’m glad I know and love God, that I’m not a “sinner or tax collector” (Matthew 9:11).
Matthew 9:10 While Jesus was having dinner at Matthew’s house, many tax collectors and “sinners” came and ate with him and his disciples.
11 When the Pharisees saw this, they asked his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and ‘sinners’?”
To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everybody else, Jesus told this parable: “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood up and prayed about himself: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men—robbers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.’ “But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’ “I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.” (Luke 18:9-14)
So many times, I know I’m an evil person, I know that I sin (specifically, fall into temptation) all the time but at least I’m not that bad as them. I don’t talk about evil (much), I don’t watch porn movies, I don’t do these nasty things, but yet, I do them in the safety of my own room. I’m being like a Pharisee, too. I don’t’ do these evil things openly and I disapprove those who do and I try to help and pray for them, but yet, I myself do those things secretly. I heard from the Barnes Poll that a third of pastors check porn at least once a month. That’s shocking. Today, I discovered that knowing about God and experiencing Him is no substitute for following Him. I can know God, I can praise and say He has done wonderful things for me, but yet, if I chose not to follow Him, I am no better than a sinful and evil man. If I don’t follow God, I am no better than people living in the days of Noah.
And this is one reason why I’m so afraid and ashamed to be out with people. Because I feel so guilty and ashamed of my sins. Because I feel such a hypocrite.
Proverbs 28:1 The wicked man flees though no one pursues, but the righteous are as bold as a lion.
After sinning against God, there are times when I want to “flee from his presence” (Psalm 139:6), yet, as the Psalmist wrote, no matter where I go, God will still be there. I cannot run, I cannot hide, I can only repent.