Monday, June 27, 2011

Oh, the Deep, Deep Love . . .

Just watched Sean Hannity interview Bristol Palin about a self-revealing book Palin wrote about her life. Hannity praised her for her courage in sharing so many of the mistakes she's made, and he remarked what a really stupid kid he was and what really stupid things he did -- and that what ultimately turned his life around was when he became a Christian.

My first thought: surely nobody out there is surprised to hear that Sean Hannity was a hell-raiser as a kid.

But even more, it got me thinking about the necessity of understanding how bad you are to be able to really come to Christ. I know there are many friends who will disagree with me. There are many Christians out there these days who chafe against traditional teaching about sin. That we are born sinful. That we are very sinful. That we are, in fact, far too sinful to ever have any hope of saving ourselves by our own behavior.

Americans these days are all about promoting self-esteem. The biggest problem in society, we are told, is that people don't feel good about themselves. THAT's why they act badly. It's an interesting progression of collective thinking, actually, how we moved from an almost universal assumption that there is something inherently wrong with us inside -- which inevitably shows up in wrong behavior -- to the assumption that we are all inherently good and only behave badly because someone else treats us badly. It's one of those concepts that, when you really sit and think about it for a long time, starts to sound so illogical as to be ludicrous. Like artificial plants. And sugar-free candy.

I honestly do believe that one can't really come to Christ until one truly understands the amazing depths of one's sin. As long as you think that you're just not that bad of a person, you'll think that you deserve God's love. And if you think God's love is something you can deserve, you have a very small view of God's love. You can't possibly comprehend that massive overwhelmingness of God and his holiness and his love for us if you don't understand that it is beyond our ever earning or ever deserving . . . and he gives it anyway.

Every once in a while, I get a glimpse in my soul of the true extent of the love of God. And there simply aren't words for it. The most selfless, unconditional love we could ever experience on earth -- and every love we've experienced from other humans is actually contaminated with selfishness, you know -- the greatest love we've ever known is but a shadow of God's love for us. It can leave you breathless to consider it.

How can you truly love God, and trust him with your life, until you understand His love for you?

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