Pound of My Flesh, Anyone?

Posted by Mark Tubbs
In News & Notes
January 11, 2011 @ 8:52 PM

I admit that I'm hopped up on an Americano with an extra shot. That's four shots in total, FYI.

I'm also hopped up because I can sense a few too many hands trying to take a pound of my flesh. It wouldn't serve anybody to get too specific, so I won't name names or allude to situations even tangentially. Suffice it to say that I feel like I'm being emotionally drawn and quartered.

Which reactions are the usual human defaults in situations like this?

  • Shut down and shut out
  • Put down and lash out
  • Bear grudges and harbor offenses

This is a prime example of a situation in which it's necessary to take at least a 6-second vacation (HT Jeffrey A. Miller), to set our theological truth foundation by preaching the gospel to ourselves (HT C.J. Mahaney via Jerry Bridges via Jack Miller), and to differentiate ourselves from the situation by addressing the issues at stake instead of the personalities involved (HT Ron Richardson).

It goes without saying that shutting down, shutting out, putting down, lashing out, bearing grudges and harboring offenses are far from godly responses, yet we so often seem to prefer to stew in our own mood-juices and wallow in our own sin-mires for hours, days, sometimes weeks or months or years. When we do this, we are tacitly prioritizing the feelings in our hearts over and above the truths of the gospel. We are also presuming dangerously upon the grace of God, essentially throwing our election and our eternal security back in His face: "I can harbor this a while because I know I'm forgiven and justified." This is poor theology, plain and simple. Says Matthew Henry, "Note, there is a great deal which carnal hearts are apt to say within themselves, to put by the convincing, commanding power of the word of God..." Let us not be found guilty of putting by, or we may find God putting us by in the end.