Memos from the Middle

Smack-Dab in the Middle of Living

Great Pretenders

“And Nathan said to David, Thou art the man…” (2 Samuel 12: 7, KJV)

Outrage is oftentimes so self-righteous. We point fingers, assign blame, and call for swift, merciless judgment, for wrongs need to be righted. Justice must be had. Punishment must be heaped. Yet, all too often, we fail to see ourselves in the very people we decry as evil.

Such was the case even for King David. When Nathan went to him under God’s command, David was ready to kill the hypothetical rich man for taking the singular, beloved lamb of a poor man and setting it before his guest as a meal instead of choosing from his own abundant flock. I picture David leaping to his feet in proud pronouncement, kingly gown dramatically cascading in royal flourish as he whirls around in indignation, clearing his throat for a deep, authoritative and decisive bellow, “Off with his head!” (Well, maybe not so Queen of Hearts like, but you get the point.)

And Nathan, in my mind’s eye, leans in with his hands folded and a firmness of resolve that can only come from knowing the real King says, “You, David, son of Jesse, who tended a flock yourself, who know all too well the love of a shepherd for his sheep, you are that greedy and selfish rich man!” Then with the power of the Most High, Nathan goes on to read David, delineating the many blessings God has bestowed upon him and enumerating David’s sins against Uriah the Hittite. But unlike us, David does something that shows why he was a man after God’s own heart: he repents, “I have sinned against the Lord” (2 Samuel 12: 13, KJV).

What we do much too often is refuse to acknowledge our sin. We justify our actions, even lashing out at those who attempt to correct in love, and pretend that we are all good and that everyone else is wrong. We at best drift through life in seeming oblivion or at worst galavant around peacock proud with outright disregard for how our actions impact others. We ignore hard truths in service of protecting an image or, quite frankly, getting what we want, and we pretend that God isn’t sending our own Nathans to rebuke us and convict us in the name of Jesus. How long will it take for us, too, to stop pretending and admit that we have sinned against the Lord?

I thank God for every “Nathan” he has sent my way. I have not always been as grateful for or receiving of their messages, but I am so glad God has given me chance after chance to get it right in my heart that my thoughts, words, and deeds may follow suit. And I pray, too, for you, Friend, that we all will stop whitewashing our sins, refusing even to call them sins, and get right in our hearts with God. We cannot keep pretending that nothing is wrong with us. We cannot keep avoiding the truth of who we are and where we are in our walk with Christ. We have to confess our sins to God. We have to ask for His forgiveness. We have to accept His forgiveness. We have to move on with greater clarity of Him and what He expects from His children. And we have to be bold enough to stand on the Word even as it shatters idols we have erected, alters images we have projected, or forces us to contend with the desires we still have in our flesh.

Father, I thank You for the prodding of the Holy Spirit. I thank You for every person and every situation You have sent my way to bring me into right relationship with You. Help me to realize and acknowledge my sins. Help me to turn away from them. Send Your light, Lord, that this darkness may not encompass my heart. Help me be courageous in my walk with You, allowing Your Word to change me from the inside out. Amen.

“Behold, You desire truth in the inward parts, and in the hidden part You will make me to know wisdom.” (Psalms 51: 6, NKJV)

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