I share a lust with St. Augustine. Although he was a pillar of the church, he regularly prayed,
“O Lord, deliver me from this lust of always vindicating myself.”
We all inherited this lust from our original parents, who invented the art of excusing sin by blaming others (Gen. 3:9-13).
I have struggled with this lust from my youngest days. Going to law school only made it worse (there’s no one I defend more quickly, zealously and skillfully than myself).
This lust has blinded my eyes to my own wrongs, delayed my repentance, exposed my pride, blocked God’s grace, robbed me of forgiveness, and strained relationships with people I dearly love.
I’ve found that the most effective way to fight this lust is to dwell on two crucial facts. First, I remember that my sins are far more serious than any person could ever realize … so serious that only Jesus’ death on a cross could pay for them (Eph. 1:7; Eph. 2:8-9).
Second, I remember that because Jesus took my guilt on his own shoulders, God himself has vindicated me completely, declaring me “not guilty” in his sight (Col. 1:19-22).
When I remember that God himself has already vindicated me in Christ, it is so much easier to listen to criticism from others, to face the truth about my sin and failures, and to ask God to use the sting of human correction to show me where he is calling me to change and grow (Ps. 141:5; Rom. 8:28-29).
– Ken Sande
- Have you ever struggled with the lust of always vindicating yourself?
- When is the last time this happened? What triggered it? How did you respond? How did your response impact your relationship with other people?
- How can dwelling on the vindication you’ve already received through Christ help you to fight the lust of trying to vindicate yourself?
- What do these passages have to say about listening to correction: Proverbs 12:15; Proverbs 13:10; Proverbs 15:32; Proverbs 17:10?
- To learn more about how to fight the lust of self-vindication, see Alfred Poirier’s excellent article, The Cross and Criticism.
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© 2017 Ken Sande
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