Fellow former procrastinators, I recently watched an old western that has stuck in my mind.
In the story, a young man was jailed because he committed a serious crime. He declared there was no proof of his guilt. He wanted a retrial which was denied, then a pardon, which was also denied. His sentence was upheld. He was cocky when he expressed his belief that he would be freed. He whined and cried when his circumstances did not improve. He clung to the belief that a deal had been made that would allow him to escape.
Why has this stuck with me?
I was particularly struck by the young man’s belief in lies he told himself. He was unwilling to accept responsibility or the consequences of his actions. He refused to recognize truth and continually begged to be let off the hook. He hung his hopes on being excused for what he’d done. He was even uppity about it. He blamed those who did not succeed in getting a retrial or pardon. He chose to believe a lie because it gave him false hope. Things did not go his way.
Maybe this sticks with me because I see shades of what I was like. I’ve been thinking of Psalm 119:29. “Remove from me the way of lying, and grant me your law graciously.” I often lied to myself by telling myself things I wanted to believe whether they were reality or not. “Being late was not my fault.”
I didn’t see that my choices made me tardy, etc. I blamed other people or circumstances for my behavior. And I believed that lie. God went to work.
Gradually, I began to see that I chose to do the wrong things. I was a hard worker, and productive – but not doing the priorities. (Ex. Choosing to do chores instead of getting dressed to leave.) Therefore, I brought on myself the difficulties I went through. I earned the unpleasant consequences.
As I began to see myself in the light of truth, I gradually stopped being defensive. I faced that I was guilty. I asked forgiveness a lot as I increasingly accepted responsibility for my choices and behavior. God was changing me. Now He helps me make choices that free me from the behavior and the consequences that are harmful to me, our family, and others.
“Mercy” that I sought to excuse me was not kindness. It enabled me to continue in slothful ways and in believing a lie.
In Christ’s true mercy, He helps us face truth about ourselves and respond in light of it. He shows us what steps to take and gives us His power to change. (v. 30 and 32) Hope in Christ is true hope.
Praise God! He’s forgiven me. By His grace He is changing me. I am walking free!
Is there an area in which you continue to put things off because you prefer to believe that others or circumstances are at fault?