Honesty about struggling with principles

No pic. No silly title. Just some up-front honesty.

After a couple of weeks of writing about principles and doing the right thing, I feel like those convictions are being tested. Over the last week, significant situations have arisen that have challenged my conviction to do what is right; not as a clear choice between right and wrong but in the difficulty between discerning what is right and wrong.

It isn’t always clear for us what right and wrong is. We are flawed people dealing with flawed people. We have imperfect perceptions and memories. We are filled with anger, frustration, jealousy, selfishness, and pride; motivations that often drive us and influence us even if they don’t rear their ugly heads in front of everyone. These things sit just below the surface, waiting to muck things up when we get serious about doing what God wants. They often present as little sins that we can justify away (I hate the phrase “lesser of two evils” for this reason) and these little sins give birth to greater sins (death: James 1:15).

This is part of why prayer is so important. Prayer isn’t about us getting God on our side, it’s us getting on the same page as God. It’s us saying, “God, may Your kingdom come, not mine. May Your will be done, not mine. Give me what I need, protect me from evil, and in everything I do, may you be glorified.” (see Matthew 5:5-13) We pray like that in faith, trusting that when we run into difficult situations where our resolve to live by principle instead of by self interest, and when we run into situations where it isn’t easy to determine what it means to do the right thing, that He will ultimately lead us through those times in a way that is glorifying to Him. This does not mean we will not run into those difficult times, or that there will not be conflict or pain or struggles. It means that, despite whatever we are feeling or experiencing, God is in control: through all the turmoil, pain, heartache, and difficulties; when we feel alone, lost, and abandoned; and when we feel like we’ve failed, over and over again, we can know that God is in control. He loves us, He is there for us, and He will be with us.

I’m in the midst of what seems like a never ending series of conflicts and struggles, all seeming to escalate in emotion and impact even while many of the actual situations seem minor and petty. Sometimes life is like that: increasingly small things become increasingly bigger deals over time. In some of the darker moments its easy to lose hope, but in moments of reflection I remember that God is in control and I begin to renew my belief that He is in the process of doing some amazing things that I am extraordinarily excited to see. I pray that I can stay out of the way and let God do His thing.

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