• Anna Waller

The Wretched Sinner That I Am

“For we have become like one who is ceremonially unclean like a leper, and all our deeds of righteousness are like filthy rags; we all wither and decay like a leaf, and our wickedness, like the wind, takes us away, carrying us far from God’s favor, toward destruction.” (Isaiah 64v6)

I am in the middle of reading Find Calcutta by Mary Poplin. I related so much to her struggle of treating certain children more like a task than as an opportunity to love and serve a human being, or more so, Christ. I related so much I cried and wanted to go hold my sleeping son and ask him for forgiveness. How many times has he awoken in the night, or especially in the morning earlier than normal, and my heart sinks as I go begin the task of getting him ready for the day and nurse him? Or he is crying because of a dirty diaper and I irritably and hesitantly go clean and change him? There are many instances that flood my mind where my children have been more tasks than people in need of love. It broke my heart when Poplin said, when caring for a deformed baby that was very needy, “As I was cleaning [the throw up in his crib], I heard a muffled sound from the infant in my arm. Tears were pouring out of his eyes and the only sound he could make was a convulsive sob. As I looked at him, I saw in my self what Jeremiah called the ‘desperate wickedness of the heart.’ I realized I had approached this task with a spirit of resistance and impatience. I had thought very little, if at all, about this child and his needs, other than to be clean… In [the moments of rocking and singing to him afterwards], I saw this child for the first time as he really was… Jesus in the distressing disguise of a poor, lame, hurting child.”

All I could think was, God please let me see the wretched sin in my heart when my babies cry so I can let go of it and be transformed by Christ’s love. Don’t allow them to be so affected by my sin. And this wasn’t just a fleeting moment of emotion while reading the book. It couldn’t be, or it would be a selfish “emotional experience” that would make me feel better after it was done. “I felt so badly and I had a good cry, a moment with Jesus…” I could have thought. But I couldn’t leave it at that. This is the start of God opening my eyes to a deeper wickedness and sin in me, something I do not take much time to reflect on, the unrightness of my heart. I hear, “Well, of course it’s okay to feel frustrated at night when your baby wakes up… you haven’t had a normal night’s sleep in so long and you’re tired!” or “Well, of course, who likes changing dirty diapers?” But how selfish is that? Doing anything without joy is just as selfish, and I would say more harmful at times, than not doing it at all. In fact, God has some harsh words for Israel when He points out their sin of worshipping Him with impure hearts. He hates it.* But then there is the, “Well, we’re not perfect. Don’t beat yourself up over it. We all do things like that. God forgives us!” He surely forgives. But what is God after? Making sure I reflect Him to the bare minimum? Do we not believe in the transformation of Jesus now? Are we so focused on the “one day I’ll be in heaven” that we forget to pray “Your Kingdom come, Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven?” Can I say that His blood has washed me entirely clean, every crook and crevice, every tiny to large sin, and yet I don’t actually have to be utterly, slowly yes, not all at once yes, but still transformed in every crook and crevice by His grace in love, to where it tears at the intentions of my heart? The Gospel affects every single area of our lives. We have lost all rights to sin. In fact, we are FREE from them!** A part of believing in Jesus is believing He is Lord, which includes living under His reign now, so our thoughts and actions and intentions live under His love… not waiting on a future “heavenly, in eternity, reign.” That’s what the Jews and Pharisees were doing, expecting the Messiah to come and defeat Roman rule, while in the present of their lives they never truly repented of their sin. But God was much more concerned with our hearts, intentions, our lives, and our reflection of Him to the people around us. He wanted us to know Him and so be like Him. Yes, He is coming back one day to defeat evil once and for all, but He came 2,000 years ago to defeat the evil in our hearts first, the sin that clings to us so closely***; the power of death and separation from God is defeated. So we are being transformed now. That is important in my day-to-day tasks and interactions with my children (and with my family and friends, with the cashier who’s being impolite, with the driver who is going slower than I’d like…)

Jesus would never treat Joshua or Jovi as a task. He would never treat you or me as a task. He would treat us as a person desperately in need of experiencing the trueness of His Love and Life. He sees us as we are, broken people in desperate need of Him. I know my children better than anyone else right now, except God. I have a weighty, important purpose in parenting, loving, and living with them. Christ’s power and love is in me; I must let go of selfishness and utilize His love, be changed by it, and love others with it, and not go on sinning, using Jesus’ grace as an excuse, no matter how small or “hidden” the sin is.**** I am sinning against Christ Himself, the hungry, thirsty, lonely, naked, sick and helpless.*****

“If we say that we have fellowship with Him and yet walk in the darkness of sin, we lie and do not practice the truth… and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin by erasing the stain of sin, keeping us cleansed from sin in all its forms and manifestations… and will forgive our sins and cleanse us continually from all unrighteousness…” (Scriptures taken from I John 1)

God, forgive me for belittling You in my children. I have let selfishness and pride overcome Love in my life. Wash me clean and continually do so. Take away the unhealthy desires that undergird my sin. Make my heart pure. I need Your help. Amen.

* Isaiah 1v11-14

** Romans 6v22

*** Hebrews 12v1

**** 1 Peter 2v16; Romans 6v1 & 15

***** Matthew 25v31-46

#motherhood #gospel #sin #sinner #motherteresa #mom #selfishness #selfless #Jesus #serve #servant #transformation #madenew

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