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"I am no longer a good and noble man."

"I am no longer a good and noble man." 

This was the indictment against my heart last week, and my character was on trial.

Why had I come to this aweful conclusion about my heart?  ... My wife exposed my anger.

I'd realized I'd blown it with my wife and kids, and had been blowing it for the last nine months: 

...Chronic impatience and irritability with the kids,

...backing my wife into an ideological corner in order to be "right" and to dominate an argument,

...and treating my family like a dumping ground for all that ailed me.

My anger wasn't explosive or uncontrolled; it was more of a searing, wounded anger.  The kind of anger a man develops when he can't face one more betrayal of friendship, or another day of bleeding alone, or another hour of wondering why his Father has gone off and left him again.

It's the kind of anger a man feels when God is asking him to trust that "there is no shadow of turning" with Him, but the man can't quite believe it yet.

Faced with the knowledge I'd been wounding my dear family for many months, I went to a pretty dark place:  Not a place of simple and honest sorrow, but a destructive form of self-torture.  Indicting yourself is often a cheap substitute for the difficult task of receiving grace.

Here are some thoughts that were going through my head:

I am clearly unworthy of my family and can't be trusted with their well-being.

I am no longer the man I thought I was, and that terrifies me.

I am no longer a man with a good and noble heart.


Thank God he rescued me.  Thank God I have a very gracious wife, and understanding children.  I was able to finally come to my right mind -- like the man of the Gadarene tombs who cut himself with sharp stones and razored accusations...until Jesus broke his chains.

Do you see the treachery of the enemy there?  "Take out his heart by convincing him that he and his sin are one and the same.  Get him to identity so strongly with his sin that the restoring work Jesus has already done in him feels like a sham."

Here's where the truth is so practical [as it always is]:  If you don't believe your heart is good and noble, possessed by the very strength of Jesus' own goodness, you will likely get the emotional snot beaten out of you on a regular basis.  You need to believe you have a good and noble heart so that when kicked in the gut, you can still stand up...again, and again.

Dear brother, Jesus has cancelled Adam's legacy of shame against you.  On your worst day, you are deeply pleasing to God.

Dear sister, Jesus has denounced Eve's claim against you.   Despite your deepest fears, He has not turned from you.

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Reader Comments (6)

Jim thank you for your vulnerability and honesty with us. It is so good to see how real you are. I simply love this post as so often is so easy ti hurt those that are closest to us as we are just too familiar with them to realize that they hurt too. May we continue to be aware of them and of our Father always. Keep it coming. I love your writing. Pablo

August 31, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterPablo

So good to hear your heart brother! Sometimes the mind gets in the way of the heart and we start to believe those words, those thoughts. It is so hard to see God working when we are so focused on the darkness, but He is there. He has us there for those seasons for a reason, to draw closer to Him. He loves it when we are honest with Him, expressing our fears, our doubts!


August 31, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterDoug G

Hey Pablo,

Thanks for the kindness. You're right -- we often forget the tend the hearts of those closest to us when they're the ones who count the most.

August 31, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJim Robbins

@Doug: You're right, Doug. Thoughts lead to emotions [and vice versa] in a way that can often keep us operating under unhealthy assumptions.

I've also learned that pretense and masks don't serve anybody. I've always appreciate people - especially men -- who are willing to be vulnerable with each other. Men need permission to be real, just as women do.

August 31, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJim Robbins

Hi Jim,
It's my first time in your blog.:) I was looking for a grace filled blog and I found yours along the way.:)
I like it when you said, "If you don't believe your heart is good and noble, possessed by the very strength of Jesus' own goodness, you will likely get the emotional snot beaten out of you on a regular basis."

Like you, I have temper problem. But Jesus also changed my heart. I was in church for 11 years and I tried changing myself but I could not. Then I received the revelation of Grace and I found that there is power to overcome sin in Grace and it is not I who overcame but Christ.

Awsome blog. Will visit again.

September 6, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterThe Restful Increase

Hi Restful Increase. Thanks for visiting! So true -- it's always the resources of Christ that help us overcome the sin and the flesh. Thank God, those resources are already present in the new and noble heart Jesus gave us when we first trusted him.

Thanks for posting!

September 6, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJim Robbins

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