This week I was memorizing Psalm 141:3, “Set a guard over my mouth, Lord. Keep watch over the door of my lips.” I was using an app designed to help learn Bible verses.
Unfortunately, I haven’t found an app to help me apply the verses.
The same day I was learning Psalm 141:3, I was audibly contriving a plan to make verbal retribution against a kid who had hurt one of my kids. I was also complaining to my children about another (rotten and horrible) teenager and then, I got mad at my husband who suggested I shouldn’t gossip in front of the kids. The nerve.
It’s frustrating being a Christian because when I become aware of my constant failures, I know I should know better. It’s frustrating because I would be happy at this point to just fail less. It’s frustrating being a Christian because between walls of my house, the confines of my head and with the people who know the real me, I can’t even come close to living out WWJD.
If I were an everyday run of the mill heathen or minimally, I wasn’t someone who wrote and spoke to people about Jesus, I wouldn’t be such a disappointment to myself. I just wrote a magazine article about the benefits of memorizing Scripture and the very day I’m memorizing a verse about controlling my mouth, I gossip about and plot the demise of my children’s peers.
But I realized this week there is a bigger tragedy in life than being a repeated failure.
Never realizing you are one.
When my husband called me out, after a bit of pouting I realized he was right. I realized I can’t just go through the motions of memorizing Bible verses, but I need to passionately and earnestly make those verses my heart’s cry and prayer. When I thought about how important it is to care for the poor in the inner-city God, reminded me about the poor in spirit. Some of the children I was audibly deeming entitled, disrespectful and ungrateful don’t know Jesus Christ’s love. God reminded me while I wallowed in my failure He’s called me to love them both.
Although I initially felt awful about what a hypocrite of a Christ-follower I am after all these years, I’m done beating myself up. It isn’t sad I’m a terrible Christian. We all are (it’s why Christ died). It isn’t sad I keep messing up despite praying I won’t (Paul had the same problem (Romans 7)). It isn’t sad I don’t even realize when I’m saying and doing what I shouldn’t (i.e. David with Bathsheba).
What’s sad are the days I’ve spent ignoring, legitimizing and making excuses for my failures. Satan loves when we dwell on how bad we are instead of making mistakes growth opportunities. My friend Mary Beth says, “God loves us too much to leave us where we are.” What’s my new perspective on being a failure?
In Christ, there’s no such thing.