One of the things that I think we, as Christian, lack is the ability to lay claim to our mistakes. We are often eager to point them in others, or apologize for our mistakes if we get caught. But when it’s just us and God, or even us and a small group of brothers and sisters in Christ, we tend to avoid actually claiming our sin.
Admit we’re not perfect? No problem. Tell a story of how we had a struggle, small as it may be, and declare God’s goodness? Sure! Say our private sins out loud and tell others that we don’t know how to overcome? Well, not so much.
Of course there are people and communities out there in which this isn’t a problem. But all in all, we’re much more eager to discuss atonement or sanctification than we are to speak about our inner darkness. Rohr says this is one of things that keeps us from truly thinking, as God built us to do:
The only way you can contemplate is by recognizing and relativizing your own compulsive mental grids—your practiced ways of judging, critiquing, blocking, and computing everything. This is what we are trying to do by practicing contemplative prayer, and people addicted to their own mind will find contemplation most difficult, if not impossible. Much that is called thinking is simply the ego’s stating of what it prefers and likes—and resistances to what it does not like. Narcissistic reactions to the moment are not worthy of being called thinking. Yet that is much of our public and private discourse.
I’m certainly guilty of this. Only this past week, I was frustrated with others and God had to reveal to me that I commit the very sin which was bothering me. I am addicted to my own mind. I am not open minded, and above all else, I demand the privilege of defending myself (whether I am right or wrong).
This, of course, is not the Spirit of God. There is a time for defending oneself, but this is not it. There is a time for declaring my opinion, but again, this is not it. This moment is the one where God exposes the darkest corners of my soul, and He declares, ”Awake, sleeper, And arise from the dead, And Christ will shine on you.”Paul said everything, every little secret, can be seen once God shines His light on it.
That’s what happens when we’re open to God’s rebuke.
What do we do when this happens? Confess. Name it. Claim it. Let not one more moment go by where you do not boldly say, “God, I have seen the darkness, and it is in me!”
The more we do this, the closer we’ll be to God. And the better our relationships with others will bloom.
Oh Holy Father, clear my mind of all that prejudices me; shine your light on the sins I don’t acknowledge. Teach me to reconcile my thoughts with Yours. Pour out Your love for others through me, O God. Give me the fragrance of Your One and Only Son, Jesus Christ.