For it is by grace you have been saved...

Monday, March 1, 2010

The Horror of the Human Heart

Jeremiah tells us that “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?” (Jer. 17:9, ESV). I’ve been given cause to reflect on that issue in the last few weeks in dealing with some surprising "sin in the camp." I say surprising because, like most everyone else, I always want to believe the best about folks, and sometimes it takes a shocking wake up call to remind me that sin is always lurking (1 Peter 5:8).

Really, we shouldn’t be shocked or surprised by sin. God has clearly shown us the depths of our own depravity. We’re foolish to think that our hearts are by nature any better than the Osama Bin Laden’s of the world (or insert the name of your own idea of the “worst kind of sinner”).

Erik Raymond, the Irish Calvinist, put together a wonderful article on this issue over the weekend. In looking at Romans chapter 3, he puts the issue of our depraved hearts so bluntly and with such perfect imagery. He says: “There is nothing that Hollywood can manufacture to equal the gruesome reality of the human heart. So in our true seeing of ourselves, based upon God’s clear presentation, we are, like the person freaked out by a horror movie, quick to avert our eyes, turning and looking away from ourselves.”

What a great image: a sight so disturbing that we can’t help but look away. That’s my heart. That’s your heart. That’s all of our hearts, which is why we so desperately need the grace and mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ. Raymond reminds us: “We turn our eyes, our dependence, our value, our hopes from the horror show of our unrighteousness to the beauty of Christ’s righteousness.”

Apart from that grace gift, we are hopeless and helpless; weak and worthless. I’m praying that God will grant mercy and grace to those invovled in the surprising sin which sent my thoughts this direction. But I’m also praying that God would give me continued gratitude for the mercy He has shown to me, and that I would daily humble myself before Him, knowing that only in His grace can I hope to stand (or even take another breath, for that matter!).

I would encourage you to read the rest of Raymond’s post here. It’s a wonderful reminder of the horror of the human heart and the grace of our Great God and Savior. May it incite us to humility and worship each and every day.

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