Romans 7:15-25a (GW)
I don't realize what I'm doing. I don't do what I want to do. Instead, I do what I hate. I don't do what I want to do, but I agree that God's standards are good. So I am no longer the one who is doing the things I hate, but sin that lives in me is doing them. I know that nothing good lives in me; that is, nothing good lives in my corrupt nature. Although I have the desire to do what is right, I don't do it. I don't do the good I want to do. Instead, I do the evil that I don't want to do. Now, when I do what I don't want to do, I am no longer the one who is doing it. Sin that lives in me is doing it. So I've discovered this truth: Evil is present with me even when I want to do what God's standards say is good. I take pleasure in God's standards in my inner being. However, I see a different standard at work throughout my body. It is at war with the standards my mind sets and tries to take me captive to sin's standards which still exist throughout my body. What a miserable person I am! Who will rescue me from my dying body? I thank God that our Lord Jesus Christ rescues me!
In the Mexican TV culture there is a character called "El Chapulin Colorado" who does exactly that, the things that others find bad, evil, sinful. But at the same time he means good. He is always surprised when others are unable to understand why he does the things he does. He is always amazed at the fact that others misunderstand his motives, and he concludes by saying "And now who can defend me?"
Isn't this the same question that many ask when misunderstood, when wanting to do the right thing, the proper thing, yet are unable to? This is a dialectical dilemma, one individual with two potential decisions pulling against each other! What a spiritual disaccord? What a spiritual struggle?
As a Christian who is also in the field of psychology, I always debate whether to address this issue as a religious/spiritual leader or in a psychological manner. I have noticed that individuals are always seeking balance from our spiritual selves and our frail humanity. I have concluded in my personal life that I am comprised of both, and I want to be integrated into a true self, not either or; I am both and it is OK! My goal as a leader is not to guide, lead, or coerce individuals to decide one or the other. This pulling between one or the other, which is a dialectic, can, if we allow it, create a balance in our lives. A life that is not tossing or pulling, is stable in the fact that we already know who we are, what our struggle is. If this is so, then let The One that can orchestrate a change in our inner self, in our mind and our body, do what He does best _ defend us from ourselves!
Let's create a balance in our lives! One thing I have learned throughout the years is that El Chapulin Colorado is our own unconscious mind forcing us to look at the ways we treat and engage ourselves in doing what is good, what is honest, what is pure, what is holy, what is godly, despite our own struggles and confusions. The Bible says "love [?] like you love yourself." In those moments of struggles and questions, those moments when we say, "What a miserable person I am! Who will rescue me?" Let our Lord Jesus Christ rescue us from ourselves and thank God that He rescues me!"
God of those who like me sin, thank you for rescuing me from myself. You are the balance of my life. I know I can count on you, always! And when you rescue me, please give me the will to do what gives me life and strength, to serve others and worship you. Amen.
The Rev. Dr. Maritza Angulo de Gonzalez is pastor of Manantial de Gracia "Spring of Grace", UCC in New Britain, Connecticut