Self-examination is probably one of the hardest Christian practices. It is probably also the one most needed today. When we do our self-examination properly, we are better equipped to recognize some issues we have that inhibit our continued transformation into the likeness of Christ.
First, the good news. Paraphrasing the psalmist, God forgives. God forgives a lot. In regard to God’s promise, that promise was ultimately fulfilled by Jesus. Through Jesus, we are gifted a way to approach God that those before did not have. Through Jesus, we are graced with being able to approach God in ways that those around us (that don’t know Jesus) cannot understand.
From the passage of Genesis, we can see a number of issues that we can also see in ourselves. Only the serpent didn’t point at someone else. You might argue that there was no one else to blame, except that there was. The serpent could have blamed God with blaming God for making the serpent. Humans use that argument all the time.
While we often use and hear this particular aspect as blaming others, there is also the aspect of the stance that the others’ sins being greater than our own. This is something of which we are all guilty and thus all the church as a whole. Self-reflection allows us to see this in ourselves, and then bring Christ to the fore of our thoughts and reactions, rather than ourselves.
The situation surrounding Jesus—where his family called him crazy and the legal experts accused him of being possessed by or in league with Satan—seems to be (especially for the legal expert) more of a look at him (Jesus), don’t look at me, but look at me being all righteous and concerned. As we move about our daily lives, it is easy to be swept up in the emotions of the moment. Unless those emotions are truly of God, they can sweep us into places that lead us away from God. Often they come from a place of self-preservation. This is why establishing a practice of self-reflection is an important practice for us to develop.
- When was the last time you reviewed your responses through the lens of Christ?
- Why do you the practice of self-reflection needs to be regular (even daily)?
Lord, help us to be shaped by you. Amen.