So I decided that the section below is more vulgar and more agressive sounding than I wish it was–but he made a great point there about excuses. I’ve done this before: “Well i was born this way” or “I’m just like my dad” or “I only do that when other people yell at me”..
I just think it’s a good point about justifying sin–and that it’s one thing to say “I’m not perfect” (but I would be more perfect if God made me with a different personality or with different people in my life) and another thing to say, “I’m a horrible sinner that needs grace!”
If you can handle his angry, short sounding rhetoric, read on–it’s not bad.
Whole thing available here: http://www.marshillchurch.org/media/rebels-guide-to-joy/the-rebels-guide-to-joy-in-exhaustion (Mark Driscoll).
(beginning – better than the end. Gets super long and is all about Scotland):
When confronted with sin, do you listen or do you defend yourself? When you have sin, do you repent and apologize to people and God, or do you shift the blame? Do you blame it on someone else? “Well I cussed you out because you made me cuss you out. It’s kind of your fault.”
“Really? I took your lips and made naughty words? That’s on me? I did that?”
Or we make excuses. “Well you know, my dad hit me as a kid, so you know, I get to hit people. It’s just it’s a thing – it’s a thing we made up. You know what? Growing up, my parents didn’t love me so I get to be a jerk for the rest of my life. I’m a victim so I get to victimize others.” Or we blame it on our personality. “I took a test and I’m in this very small minority of obsessive people who are violent and Godless and can’t find their pants and violate commandments. That’s my personality, so I’m a victim to my genetics. I had a grandpa like that too.”
And what we can do, we can have genetic excuses. We can have cultural excuses. We can have blame shifting. We can have others that we blame for that which is our own responsibility. We could say things like, “I know it was wrong, but it’s not as bad as what you did to me that one time. Let’s not talk about you and shift the subject off of me.” Sinners have all of these diversionary tactics. Maturity is to not act as if you were perfect. Maturity is to say, “Okay, I’ve sinned. You’re right. I repent. I apologize. I will change. I appreciate you bringing that to my attention. You know what? No one’s ever had the courage to confront me like that. I appreciate that because I think you really do care.”
None of us would say, “I’m perfect,” but many of us act as if we were. And when confronted, we’re hard hearted, stiff necked, rebellious, foolish, proud, obstinate, disobedient, self-righteous, blame shifting, justifying. That’s how we respond. And what Paul is saying, “I’m mature.” What he’s saying is, “You can teach me something. I’ll learn. You can rebuke me of something, and if it’s true, I’ll repent. You can point out a flaw in my life and I’ll work on it.” And he said, “I would encourage everyone to imitate my example because maturity is humility that wants to be like Jesus and doesn’t think that one already is.” Does that make sense?
So he says there are two keys to becoming mature – forgetting what lies behind and then pressing forward. Now let me say that this verse in Philippians 3 is widely misunderstood, misapplied, by Christians.