“So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin.”
—James 4:17 (ESV)
After my last blog, a reader commented on my 10-year-old’s wise remark about assigning proper blame when someone in the church disappoints you. He said, “Don’t be mad at God, Mom. Be mad at Satan!”
To be honest, my son has been challenging my immaturity quite a lot these days. Which isn’t a hard thing to do. And maybe you’re thinking: Good! It’s about time someone did. Maybe God is thinking the same thing, too.
Why else would He put this blunt kid wearing sports glasses in front of me saying things like, “You mean you didn’t know that already?” when I explain that we are to forgive people who offend us. The Bible teaches forgiveness.
“You mean you didn’t know that already?!*” He says, turns on his heel, and walks out of the room. My husband and I roll our eyes and mutter a few words under our breath. Yikes!
Well…yeah, kid, I did know it; but knowing it and doing it are two different things (apparently). Let’s just say you’ve stumbled upon the construction zone between my head and my heart. It’s that place where God sets up a work area and things get messy, strange detours result, awful sounds erupt, delays occur, engines stall, and tempers flare.
It’s that place where theory is challenging practice instead of seamlessly flowing into practice. My personal zone contains some ugly sites like biterness from past hurts, the temptation to retaliate, defensiveness, and the (previously-mentioned) resistance to forgive.
Call it disobedience—or sin—as the apostle James does in the above verse. My son and James share a love of the blunt. Hey, we all need that from time to time.
Because we’re not there yet. We’re not where we’re supposed to be. There is work to be done on this heart project. And I’m sorry to air this mess publicly, but I think we all have those construction zones where God is working something out in us.
In fact, I know it! I’ve run into some snagged zones belonging to fellow travelers. Things get really hazardous when my construction zone meets your construction zone. Maybe we should all start wearing those “Pardon Our Appearance” signs on our chests. Or “Temporary Inconvenience for Permanent Improvement.”
What’s in the zone between your head and your heart? How long has God been trying to construct some new pathways there? Is He making progress? Are you letting Him make progress?
Before you get too bummed about the slowdown, let’s remember who the project manager is—someone we can know and trust! It’s our loving heavenly Father who “began a good work in us and will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus” (Philippians 1:6).
Which means I’m hopeful despite the snarls, honking, and detours. That’s the beauty of a life with Jesus—we still encounter all the usual messes of life, but we can face them knowing the victory is imminent.
So, let’s extend some grace to each other as we lurch along in the construction lanes of life. Smile and wave! Once we get through this, it’s a wonderful ride.