By Jennie Allen
Six weeks ago our newly adopted son, Cooper, entered an entirely new universe: America. After four years of life in a Rwandan orphanage he went from porridge, cement and being invisible to endless attention, ice cream and toothpaste; to swimming, Queso and a day at the lake; to sleeping with a pillow, hugs and kisses, and three meals instead of one. And today he had his first Dr. Pepper.
Maybe it was the Dr. Pepper, but it was a hard day for him, a lot of time-outs and testing his limits. Even wild on Dr. Pepper, he breaks easily. Something in him knew and freely admitted he messed up. In limited, broken English, he whispered to me from timeout, “I sorry.”
I too break easily. And I’m really good at sin. My sin is quiet and not obvious, but very destructive. I pull off acting good pretty well, even if inside I wrestle with worry and pride and anger.
There are a lot of things about God that are a worthwhile debate. But typically the fact that we sin is not one of them. I’ve never met anyone who says they are perfect. I have, however, met a lot of people who think they are good people.
What do they mean by that? Do they mean they have good motives and do good things, or that they are just good – like warm chocolate cookies are just always good? I get the impression that when they say it, they are saying, “God thinks I am OK.”
Forgive my bluntness, but God does not think we are OK. Because we aren’t OK. Even the shiniest, best-behaved of us live at war in our souls with sin.
“He who covers his sins will not prosper, but whoever confesses and forsakes them will have mercy. -- Proverbs 28:13 (NKJV)
What if the thing we are trying to impress God with is the very thing keeping us from Him?
Often I impress the world around me with passionate, visible morality while avoiding God altogether. There is something about humility that is costly; something resembling humiliation. Humility is an outright declaration of the mess we are without God, rather than composing a beautiful existence that barely needs a savior.
I was designed to come to the end of myself again and again, until maybe after years of reaching the end of me I would consider that I had a problem.
That I might need something.
That I might be stuck.
That I might need help.
That I might need God.
We were designed to need God -- but to experience Him we need to admit that we break easily.
I have sinned. I am broken. I need God. It’s so simple… and with that, God rushes in.
When was the last time you were broken? How did God help?
Jennie Allen is a Bible teacher who is passionate about inspiring a new generation of women to encounter the invisible God. Raised in a Christian home, Jennie heard about God her entire life but not until high school did she see her need for Him. Since that time she has been teaching groups of girls and young women about her God. Her first Bible study, Stuck: The Places We Get Stuck and the God Who Sets Us Free, will release in October 2011. To sample Stuck, visit www.StuckDVDStudy.com.
For more info on Jennie, visit www.jennieallen.com.