There really is something fun and catchy about some of the sayings that Millennials are throwing around today.
If nothing else, it keeps me on my toes trying to understand what they’re talking about. Thankfully, I have some friends with kids who fall within this generation, and I can usually get my questions answered there if and when the internet fails me.
This one, though. While I see this one used in far less than qualifying circumstances (i.e. Having a bad hair day, your Starbucks order didn’t come out perfectly, not knowing which shirt to wear out of the 100 that hang in your closet…a.k.a. First world problems), I’m going to take it to a much deeper level today. I found myself resonating with this phrase MUCH today. This led me to the book of Romans, a book of the Bible that I’ve been in for some time now, slowing working my way through it’s verses, chapters, and pages, recognizing that this well is deep, and it will take much time to get to the bottom of it. So, I’ve chosen not to rush my way through it.
The author of Romans, the apostle Paul, gets really real about his struggle with sin in chapter 7, and so that’s where I want to take you today.
“So the trouble is not with the law, for it is spiritual and good. The trouble is with me, for I am all too human, a slave to sin. I don’t really understand myself, for I want to do what is right, but I don’t do it. Instead, I do what I hate.” Romans 7:14-15
Wow. These words just about leap off of the page at me, especially “for I am all too human.” Anybody else struggle with being painfully human, too? There isn’t a day that passes that I’m not painfully reminded of my human limitations and shortcomings. There are so many days when I want to do the right thing, and I even set out to do it. Then, I somehow manage to get in the way. My humanness that is ever so flawed and broken and bent towards lesser than godly things rears its ugly head, and there I am again.
“And I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. I want to do what is right, but I can’t. I want to do what is good, but I don’t. I don’t want to do what is wrong, but I do it anyway.” Romans 7:18-19
And Paul strikes again with refreshing authenticity and honesty. We could learn a thing or two from his genuine confession here. Here’s the deal. I want to live from a posture of humility and love towards all people, but then some of those very people hurt and wound me with their actions and words. It’s then that the struggle becomes really real. I know the good I’m supposed to do (extend grace and forgive) because grace and forgiveness were freely given to me even though I didn’t deserve it, so God asks that I freely give of what I’ve been freely given. But the struggle is real. I don’t want to. My bent and natural tendency is to do one of two things: self-protect from further harm or strike back. Neither are my biblical mandate. Both only lead me further from the one thing God requires me to do:
Love my enemies. (Matthew 5:44)
The more I’m concerned about protecting myself, the less I’m living outwardly to love, defend, and protect others. The more I strike back, the less love is on display.
I imagine there are many hurts, betrayals, hardships, and painful circumstances on the other side of my screen as I type these words that you are reading. Your struggle is real. So is mine.
And so is our God.
He is the God of restoration. He is the God of healing. He is the God who rebuilds and repairs what has been broken. And He wants to start in you. He wants to start in me. He wants to remind us today that our ability to say “yes” to the thing that we just can’t seem to do even though we know it’s right is found in our willingness to abide in Jesus Christ. It will never be done in our own strength, but it’s already been done in His.