Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Why Do I Feel Like Such a Failure?

Do you?  I'll bet if you're a woman, especially if you have kids, you feel like a failure a lot.  Am I right?  Every day?  Many times a day?  You may not even be sure what The Standard is that you're trying to achieve, but every day you feel pretty sure - even convicted, perhaps - that you haven't reached it.

Well.  You feel like a failure because you are a failureAs am I.  You see, the first two people created, Adam and Eve, were created good and put in a beautiful garden.  But then they ate the fruit that God had told them not to eat - the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil.  By choosing to decide for themselves what was wrong and what was right, Adam and Eve put themselves and their children at war with God Himself.

God is the ultimate expression of all that is Good and Perfect, so, like our first parents, you and I are at war with all that is Good and Perfect.  Only, it can seem mixed-up and confusing because the tree Adam and Eve ate from was the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.  We've all learned to be socially acceptable as well, so we humans don't completely wipe each other out, so from the outside it looks like there's a lot of good in us... until there's an all-out war, when human nature is seen in the raw, minus a lot of that "social acceptability". (Think the Rwandan civil war, the Holocaust in Europe, or any number of present-day conflicts such as the war in Syria and even the riots in indebted countriesin response to "austerity measures".)

Anyway, so being at war with what is Good and Perfect makes us failures, with some good bits thrown in here and there.

But wait, there's good news!  By ourselves we are failures, but Jesus paid the price for that failure.  In Roman times, the crimes committed by a condemned criminal were nailed to their cross when they were crucified.  Jesus hadn't done anything wrong, so your sins and mine were symbolically nailed to his cross (the "handwriting of requirements against us" - the Bible still talks about sin after Jesus was resurrected, so it wasn't the law that was nailed to the cross, otherwise there would have been no such thing as sin any more! "Sin is the transgression of the law").  By repenting, being baptised and having hands laid on us to receive the Holy Spirit, we start to become something new.  No longer a failure.

Of course, we won't completely shake that "failure" part of ourselves until we are transformed.  We'll still feel like failures often.  But no longer hopeless failures!

In just two days is one of God's appointed Holy Days, known to the Jews and many others as Yom Kippur.  It is a day of recognising our human failure and the depth of our need for Jesus Christ and God our Father.  Physically, it's not an enjoyable day, since it means fasting for a complete 24 hours - no food or water in that time.  But spiritually it is a celebration of the fact that Jesus has paid for our weakness and sin.  It's a celebration that failure is just a temporary state - if we truly accept the price that Jesus paid.

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