There was a time when my life was illusory and paradoxical. I used to have a bleak outlook where I believed that my life was purposeless and I was wasting the years that had been given to me, yet I was certain that I was a pretty good guy purported by my strong character and perfect sense of right and wrong that would ultimately garner an exceedingly favorable afterlife. On October 9, 2009, my life was completely upended. I had a vasectomy, a relatively minor procedure that left me in crippling pain. October 8, 2009 was probably the last pain-free day I’ll ever enjoy. Interestingly enough, that fateful day was the most important day in my life.
I didn’t realize that one must be utterly broken to come to the Cross. After all, I had already asked Jesus into my heart, was sprinkled as an infant, and was confirmed when I was thirteen. I was in the system. I was so saved that I didn’t even need Jesus. At least I lived that way.
Deep in the hidden recesses of my heart I knew I was in big trouble but I told myself that I was a swell guy. In comparison to everyone else, my flaws were so minute that God could easily overlook them. My foibles were infinitesimal in comparison to the godless heathens running the streets. I was a terrific catch for God. It’s not like I murdered anyone, right? Or have I? In Matthew 5:21-22, Jesus tells us that unrighteous anger is murder in the heart. Oops.
Then there is the lying, the stealing, the dishonoring of my parents, even adultery of the heart. That’s a tough one to swallow, but Jesus makes it clear in Matthew 5:28. If we delve into the OT, Hosea illustrates that we are all adulterers to God. The marriage of Hosea and Gomer is a picture of the marriage of Christ to his church. His unfaithful bride. Our broken vows. An ongoing affair where we turn to our success, our money, our vices, our hobbies; we turn our idols into cheap substitutes for our Redeemer. Yet Christ made an unbreakable covenant with his people. This was the God I rejected because I already had my ticket to heaven punched with all that I had done. I created my own paradise in my mind where I was my own savior. I lived in a world where I had broken all of the Commandments before breakfast, but in my eyes, I was a good person. I was delusional.
I was blinded by my relativism, and my veil of perceived goodness had to be pierced. Not just pierced, but utterly shattered by a curse that left me with a lifetime of pain. This was much more than hurt feelings, but enduring physical pain that will forever remind me of what I once was. This curse was perhaps the greatest gift that God could have given me because it afforded me the opportunity for saving grace.
I can clearly see that I once lived in a world of make-believe. I persisted in a fictitious realm where I usurped God’s authority and redefined the qualifications for entrance to heaven much like people redefine gender and marriage today. I am still a bad man, but I am a bad man who has been redeemed by a good God.
CC image courtesy of waferboard on Flickr.