Keep On

One of the things that I’ve noticed about myself is that I am a people pleaser. It is an unfortunate condition. Technically speaking, I believe that I may suffer from Adult Anxious Attachment. From what I’ve read, it is a disorder that affects you as an adult, primarily because of a lack of secure attachment forming in childhood. It’s not official, but it is my self-evaluation. I love self-diagnosing…

For the sake of saying that I’m accurate in my assessment, I will share with you some of the difficulty that this brings on me. It is an internal struggle with myself. Many times, I choose to be “nice” at the expense of my own self. In a strange way, it feels almost like self-preservation at the time. By being nice to other people, I avoid confrontation; at the same time, I downplay my own thoughts and internalize the struggle. It becomes like touching a hot stove, realizing it’s hot, removing your hand instinctively, then slowly placing it back over the heat to burn. The effects finally reach their way up and out in the form of an explosion.

So, another factor that I’ve found about myself is that this desire to be nice is strongly connected to my ego. I want people to like me and not be upset with me. Most, I guess, if you asked them would say that this is important to them. But, for me, it’s consuming. The way that this translates into my daily life can be selfish. In the end, I don’t serve others out of a desire to serve my Savior out of thankfulness. No, if I’m honest it becomes something of an addiction. “Being nice” can become idolatry. Its cousin “doing good works” is born.

So, the first step in resolving any problem is to identify what it is. Check. Next, you devise a plan of attack. Check. Then you carry that out. Check. The hiccups are frequent for me as I begin to itemize and select the thoughts that prompt the actions that I no longer want to see from myself. I have read that this kind of personal problem, if understood and addressed, can be conquered through vigilance. The person that emerges becomes more powerful, influential, and focused. The butterfly emerges from the chrysalis.

So, how does this relate to Jesus and faith. Well, clearly, I consider myself to be a good person. Then I catch myself going back to “sinning as usual”. I have pet sins, which we all have, and one of them is my desire to please. Everyone has their own version of inherited sin and gross sinfulness. I’m no exception. The best things of men are deplorable to God without faith (Hebrews 11:6).

The point? Well, to me the point is that I am struggling to be a better person and a better Christian. Each and every person with faith is trying to do that very thing. Yet, we fail; often we fail because we have the wrong focus. Collectively we as human beings have failed disastrously. Think of it in terms of preschool: when a young child builds something out of blocks, does he or she knock it down in the end? Sometimes. When the child is proud of what he or she built, then there is reluctance to knock it down. But, when they are not proud, they cast the blocks down without reservation. God plans on destroying the world; the very best that we have to offer isn’t good enough. He will throw down the blocks of creation and burn it all up to reveal the merits of every hidden thing.

Even our best attempts as Christians are not perfect in God’s eyes because of anything inherently good in us. And, there is where we must change our focus – away from ourself and our good deeds and onto Christ.

Jesus came into this world as true God and true man to reconcile the world to God. “He was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed” (Isaiah 53:5).

This crushing of our Savior is different than the crushing that we face daily because of sin; it is different than the crushing that human beings will experience at their death or at the end of world; it is different than the casting down of blocks that the child does in her childishness. The crushing that Jesus received was undeserved. He was perfect and he stood up for us, stood in our place to be killed by our ancestors. When God the Father looked at him during the time that he was suffering, he saw every sinner and every sin ever committed in the man Jesus.

It was finished. The perfection that we strive after and never fully acheive was credited to us as righteousness through that one man’s death. And God raised him from the dead so that we can be sure that this was no joke; God did this powerfully, and it is remarkable in our eyes.

Sometimes, we need to look at the building blocks in our lives. Sometimes there are blocks that need to be cast down or thrown away. In the end we all face trials and we each return to dust at our time of death. While we live, we focus our eyes on Jesus and his love. Forgiveness from Christ is a state of being that cannot be revoked; only God has the authority to forgive sins. And, we stand forgiven and await heaven through faith.

Being “nice” gets put into perspective. Whatever else we deal with gets the same treatment. Forgiveness from God gives us strength to keep on trying.

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