“Verse 1: Lecrae
Woke up this morning too depressed and shamed to leave my bed
Can’t stand to see my own reflection so I hang my head
Feel like a disappointment like the scum of the earth
I’m so hurt I know you see I can’t cover my dirt
My souls dying hearts weak and I can’t even cry
I’m sposed to run to you but WHY I’m such an evil guy
The sun’s shining but for me it’s the darkest of days
Try to pretend it never happened but the guilt remains
I leave the house it feels like everybody knows I did it
Feels like they reading my mind and know the sin I committed
Through your blood I’m aquitted but my heart doesnt get it
Oh God I’m desperate for Help cause I’m grieving your Spirit
I couldn’t sing in the sunday service, Lord I felt fake
And when they started communion I just made an escape
I’m in need of your grace
Feels like you hid your face
Lead me back to cross and show me my sins erased”
A number of songs I listen to say it well: there are times that I hate myself and I do what I do not want to do. Romans 7 describes this double personality problem perfectly! Paul says “Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me. 22 For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; 23 but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me. 24 What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death?”
I remember Mal Riley surprising us all by opening up a talk at Iwerne 2009 with that last line. “Oh wretched man that I am!” he bellowed. “Who will rescue me from this body of death?!” His british accent accentuated the words “wretched” and “death” and then left a pregnant pause in the room. Students sat still for a moment, not sure how to react.
To the shocked reactions of many of us, Mal was modeling what Paul and other saints before us have done. He was opening up in honesty to the public and admitting that his double personality led him to do things that would shock us all. Paul and Mal both know that we are far worse than we ever readily admit, and if the truth were known and a DVD played of all of our thoughts, choices, and hidden moments, even from just one day!, we would never want to show our faces in public again.
Recently I’ve thought about guilt vs. shame. Many of us can admit we are guilty. Yes, we are capable of breaking laws and we have and no one that I’ve ever met truly holds up a front that they never make mistakes and are perfectly righteous. But shame is different. Shame is public. Shame is what happens when a secret comes out and you are the only one who has done such a thing (supposedly) and suddenly the crowd turns to glare at you in judgment. Shame!
I think I could go for some more shame these days. It’s easy to go through the motions when you make a mistake. Say your little prayer, confess to God, resolve to do better, perhaps tell one friend of your struggle, but that’s just guilt. You do those things to make you feel less guilty. Not much shame involved. But I’m wondering if shame would be the real kicker, having your secrets known publicly – to the effect that, once you’ve broken the ice, I bet we’d see that you are not the only person with such a problem at all. Far from the truth – everyone has the same shameful actions in their lives, we are all just too caught up in impressing others to show it!
When I am caught up in sin, I find it hard to climb out of, but one important way is preaching to myself. (Side question, do some of us even believe some actions that aren’t enforced by law are still illegal and therefore sin in God’s eyes? Our government is far from truly honoring God’s law.) In the car, when I’m jogging, in my room, at lunch break, I pray and try to preach to myself. Even out loud sometimes. Here’s a little bit of what I wrote recently.
“Feeling a major lack of self control these days, as if I can have self discipline @ a workout or patience with certain people, but when temptation comes I lose. Though not every time, I have been freed from the law of sin and death and I’m no longer a slave. There is always a way out every time, and sometimes I do take it, which gives me hope.
But I can still fall. Sometimes I go so dark as to repent the night before, pray when I wake up, pray on my knees in public before I work out, listen to a sermon in the car on the way home, and then slip and fall all over again when I’m home. And the covering up with half truths that I am capable of…
I’m nearly back to a helpless place again, what can I do? Cry out for a savior, Harrison. Admit you can’t do it, and this helplessness is what begins to enable the true rescue!
Have you forgotten that God does not condemn you (Rom 8:1) ? Have you forgotten that you have been set free from being a slave (Rom 8:2) ? You are not in the matrix anymore. Do you live in light of the fact that on the day of your salvation, Harrison Jones died! It is not you who live, but Christ who lives in you ( Gal 2:20). Have you forgotten that Christ has done what you could not do? What the law could not do? (Rom 8:3). Are you aware that his blood has met the requirement in the heavenly places for your sin? (Heb 9:11-14). Do you not know that your mind is no longer set on the things of the flesh only, but on the things of the Spirit (Rom 8:5)? And that you are forgiven and free? That for freedom of living as a free person, Christ set you free (Gal 5:1), not bound down by pretense, social requirements, or performance?
Did you think that when God said he forgives your past, your present and your future, that he thought “Oh, I didn’t know my boy would be doing this now! Let me reconsider.” Or that Jesus said, “I want that guy on my team, but if he starts screwing up, he’s out!” No, we do not keep ourselves saved by works, and our sin is not strong enough to stop God (Heb 6:18-20). The Spirit is proof of his down payment! (2 Cor 5:5). Jesus actually looks at all the sin we will still commit in the future, even things we have no idea are coming, and he says to us – “I still want that man or I want that woman on my team.”
But how can you front on the Father that adopted you, Harrison? How can you crucify him again and again? Now that you have come to be known by God, how can you turn back to the ways of the world as if you still live only for your flesh? (Gal 4:9). You have freedom to do as you please, but do you think that will benefit you? You were called to Freedom, but some freedoms re-enslave you. (Gal 5:13).
Did you forget that it’s possible to, by the Spirit, put to death the deeds of the body and you will have life! (Rom 8:13) . That when you work out your salvation, it is God who works in you (Phil2:13) ? Have you seen someone who makes a practice of sinning and doesn’t admit it is wrong? Are you like him? Or are you aware that the one in whom God’s seed lives cannot keep on sinning (1 John 3:9). Did you forget that without the law being our delight, we will perish in our affliction like the beasts of the field? (Psalms 119:92). That a young man CAN keep his way pure by storing up his word in his heart? (Psalms 119:9-11). That the law is holy and doesn’t change – it all still applies to you (Matt 5:17-19) and leads to abundant life (Ps 34: 8, 12, 14) !
Yes apparently you did forget that. And that’s why I’m preaching to you, Harrison, so you should know your true identity as a son of God.
Lecrae’s song “Desperate ft. Cam” finishes the thoughts well.
“Have mercy on me God according to your steady love
Wipe away my transgressions and wash me in your blood
Create in me a clean heart renew a right spirit
Don’t hide your face from me Lord, your Presence keep me near it
I’m waiting patience on you Lord I know you hear my cry
Restore your Joy in me For you alone I live and die
It’s you I Glorify cause you don’t want my sacrifice
You want me broken and contrite trusting in the Christ
I confess to you my sin and you show me mercy
I turn away from it demonstrating that you are worthy
Over lust, over pride, over all sin
Is my affection for Jesus who who died for all them?
I was lost now I’m found I was toss to the ground
My sin weighed on me heavy but I am no longer bound
As sure as Christ wears the crown
I know that grace will abound
And even when I feel lost I know in You I am found”