Still musing on my recent comments about Paul Flowers and his Paxman interview. And least I should appear to be rather superior to Flowers and his very muted 'confession', I come back to a quote from Paul Tripp in his excellent book, Whiter then the snow...meditations on sin and mercy in Psalm 51. Yep I sadly fall for this self deception on a regular basis, but thankfully I embrace the cure too.
You'll never understand sin's sleight of hand until you acknowledge that the DNA of sin is deception. Now, what this means personally is that as sinners we are all very committed and gifted self-swindlers. I say all the time to people that no one is more influential in their own lives than they themselves are because no one talks to them more than they themselves do. We're all too skilled at looking at our own wrong and seeing good. We're all much better at seeing the sin, weakness, and failure of others than we are our own. We're all very good at being intolerant of others of the very things that we willingly tolerate in ourselves. The bottom line is that sin causes us not to hear or see ourselves with accuracy.
And we not only tend to be blind, but, to compound matters, we also tend to be blind to our blindness. What does all of this mean?
It means that accurate self-assessment is the product of grace. It is only in the mirror of God's Word and with the sight-giving help of the Holy Spirit that we are able to see ourselves as we actually are. In those painful moments of accurate self-sight, we may not feel as if we are being loved, but that is exactly what is happening. God, who loves us enough to sacrifice his Son for our redemption, works so that we would see ourselves clearly, so that we would not buy into the delusion of our own righteousness, and so that with a humble sense of personal need we would seek the resources of grace that can only be found in him. In this way, Psalm 51 is both the saddest and most joyous of all the psalms. It is sad that David has to confess what he must confess, but at the same time the fact that he is accurately seeing, and fully acknowledging his sin is a cause for celebration. Only Jesus can open blind eyes. Whenever a sinner accurately assesses his sin, the angels in heaven rejoice, and so should we