Tuesday 15th of January 2019
If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not
in us. But if we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us.
1 John 1:8-9
Few people will be so overt as to say ‘I am without sin’. Self-deceit is
rarely that obvious. It often comes masked in socially acceptable and socially
rewarded forms of behavior.
Perfectionism, for example, is a common expression of self deceit. We try
very hard to look good. Sometimes we work so hard to look perfect, (‘without
sin’), that we nearly convince ourselves that it’s true. Then, in the moments
when we suddenly remember our human condition, we feel shame and self-contempt.
And this often makes us want to work even harder to cover over reality with
more layers of self deceit.
But self-deceit will never lead to change and growth. Only honesty can bring
change. Recovery begins as we face our failures, our wrong-doing, and our
For people like us, who have tried very, very hard to be very, very good,
facing reality can be painful work. The courage to pursue taking an honest
inventory of our lives is not possible without some source of compassion
and forgiveness that can replace our shame and self contempt. The good news
is that God is compassionate and forgiving. God freely, joyfully, completely
pardons. Because of this hope, we can look honestly at ourselves. Because
we can turn to God and find mercy and pardon, we can make a fearless inventory
of our lives.
Dear God, I have tried hard.
I have tried harder.
I have tried my hardest.
But it has only led to self-deceit.
Help me, God, I need you.
I need your compassion to overpower my self contempt.
I need your forgiveness to overpower my self condemnation.
Rid me of self-deceit, God.
And build in me a capacity for honesty.
Not so that I can be perfect, but so that I can genuinely change.
And, so that I can rejoice in your love for me.
Copyright 2019 Dale and Juanita Ryan
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