faith, life, depression, struggle

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Comfort in one's own skin

Basilica of Sant'Apollinare Nuovo in Ravenna, ...Image via Wikipedia
It seems self-evident that you have to find a way to get comfortable with who you perceive yourself to be, at heart. That's a little too easy for some folks; what's that old line about the unexamined life? We all could stand to change a few things in our behavior, even the best among us. None of us is perfect.

I think of this now in terms of sin and its effects. Too often I see only the direct path from sin to its consequences; I do something wrong, and it has a bad effect on other people (and me). But there is a more subtle way that sin's impact spreads outward, not only leaving an indelible mark on the sinner and those sinned against, but moving outward from there to affect others I'll never meet, even. Did my behavior cause resentment or damage the ability of the person I sinned against to trust me and others? That's just one consideration. A little leaven, as Paul wrote, leavens the whole lump.

So there is a deep sadness within me when I consider just some of my sins (from among those I'm aware of, and that is a small subset of the whole, which only God knows). I have done people wrong, and I still remember some of those acts, some of those people. And while time softens the sting to some extent, there is yet a real regret gathered around those memories. Yes, I realize that God has forgiven me simply because He is God, and He delights in doing so. But that doesn't mean I have forgotten these particular instances wherein I sinned, wherein my acts made Jesus's life and death necessary. My name, too, is on those nails.

And thinking about that, aside from all the other discomforts I feel about being me, puts me in a profound discomfort about myself. I am in this skin, with this personality, until I die. At some point, I have to accept that and be at peace with the fact that I am who I am, no more and no less. Perhaps I should've reached this point long ago. I don't know. All I know is that I'm not there yet.
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