James A. Washington 

I’m convinced that it is a forgone conclusion that I am going to fail miserably in my attempt to be Christ like. It is very much a conscious thing with me as I try to make walking with Jesus habitually normal. However, I know it’s my job to humbly and consistently keep trying and striving to emulate my personal Lord and Savior. There are all kinds of expressions to describe my failed efforts; everything from ‘backsliding’ to simply falling down on the job. In each instance my obligation is to weather the storm and reverse direction, or more aptly put, ‘just get back up on my feet and try again.’

One of the hardest things for me to do is to know I’ve blown it with regard to Christian behavior. I’ve maintained an unchristian attitude for too long. Or, I’ve enjoyed someone else’s misfortune much too much. You see when this happens, because I profess and believe the good news of the gospel, I know what is supposed to be inherently good and what is not. Yet, I’ve acted or reacted outside of the parameters of what I know is good Christian behavior. At this point I know I’m in trouble because I indeed do know better. It becomes hard and kind of embarrassing to ask God for forgiveness, when you know He knows that you know better. For me that’s pretty tough. It’s like stealing and having to confess to your mother, or, being caught cheating and your punishment was delivering the bad news to your mother by a note from your teacher.

For those of you who have had to carry such a burden, I’m sure you understand that sinking feeling as you have exhausted every excuse possible in a vain attempt to delay the inevitable. You still gotta tell Mom. Stay with me for a moment and relate to having to tell God. You know that He already knows. It is then absolutely necessary and incumbent upon me or you to stand up, ‘fess’ up and proceed down the only road that makes sense, with the full knowledge that you will be okay. The Lord still loves you. Getting through that whole process has always been very difficult for me because, I believe what I’m feeling is generally stupid and certainly clear about knowing better. When you’re a Christian, you do know better. I don’t know which is worse, knowing better or having to tell God that you knew better. The good news is, God knows what’s in your heart. It is His measure of who you are and who you are in relation to Him. It’s because of that, that God knows you are repentant, just like your mother knew you were truly sorry. It remains the only basis for forgiveness.

For me it still remains an uncomfortable exercise to square my shoulders, assume the position faced down in reverent prayer and enter into the domain of my Father and reveal that kind of failure. Each time it happens, I’m reminded that God did not come to call the righteous, but the sinners of which I am one, regardless of how enlightened I might think I am.

May God bless and keep you always.

James Washington is the publisher of the Dallas Weekly.