"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.