Rationalizations

16 01 2013

“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.” – Matthew 5:4

I am a gifted rationalizer. Rationalization is all about the spin. It allows us to take something that we know isn’t best, and make it into something that, in the moment, we can justify as worth our time, money, attention, or effort.

The art of rationalizing started in the Garden and has been gathering speed ever since. Sin requires rationalization. We have to talk ourselves into it. Sometimes it is not very hard – a simple “I deserve it” may be all that is needed. A bad habit is a sin that we have justified over and over again until we are able to push the guilt away without thought.

The second blessing Jesus announces in the Sermon on the Mount challenges our tendency to rationalize. God blesses those who can look honestly at their sin and grieve what it is, what it does, and how deeply it impacts both our hearts and His heart. It calls me to let go of the justifying, rationalizing explanations that I have ready, and look with a tender heart at the ugliness of sin.

When I mourn my sin, I set down my need to control my image, spin my comfort, and justify my own desires and look intently into the mirror of God’s holiness. When the light of His purity shines on the broken crags and ugly shadows of my sin-etched heart, it breaks through my rationalizations and opens my life up to His cleansing, healing touch.

My Jesus Resolution today is to take a hard look at my habits and choices. Rationalization is a hard habit to break. It allows me to embrace sin and hold God at arm’s length. I close the door on God’s blessing, His work in my life, and His transformation of my heart as long as I keep rationalizing. He can’t heal something I won’t acknowledge is broken. He is unable to forgive something I won’t call sin. When I am brave enough to look honestly at my actions and attitudes, God promises that He will be right there wrapping me in a comforting blanket of grace.


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