“For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing.”
I think of myself as a good person.
I do things that make people refer to me as a bad person.
If both statements are true how can I rely on either statement to give me a basis for action in my next encounter with life?
This kind of cognitive dissonance (holding opposing statements as equally true) darkens even the brightest of days and sometimes dims the view of God’s grace in my life. I struggle with the knowledge that I am both people: the good and the not good. How do I continue to be good regardless the truth that I am sometimes not good?
Here are three propositions you can use to unravel truth when what you think about yourself seems to be challenged by what is happening in your life.
When one incident becomes your whole world, you have lost perspective. My life is not made up of one or two incidents in a day. What I did in 1966 cannot be allowed to drive what I choose to do today or think today. Certainly it informs it, but, does not dictate to it. My impact on the world around me must be kept in divine perspective. What would Jesus want me to do – is much more helpful.
When one experience is your whole world, you have lost context. A traffic ticket for speeding, while financially hurtful, cannot be allowed to drive how I respond to my wife when I get home. She may agree it is harmful to the family finances and my future use of the car, but, not my future relationship with her.
When one person can change your whole view of life for the worse, you have lost yourself. I need wise counselors in my life to help guide me through decisions great and small. Their opinion of my choices are helpful but not obligatory. They do not define who I am in God’s kingdom. They do not define who I am in my family. By using all of those voices combined with my understanding of God’s work in my life, I can see more clearly the person God wants me to see in the mirror of life.