Admitting when we're wrong, weak, or defeated is hard. Really hard. It's what makes relationships complex and difficult. It's why we fall into bitterness and resentment and act out of fear. We take the reasons for our failings and turn them into excuses because we have such a hard time admitting that we are just not sufficient on our own.
Ultimately this is an issue of pride, and it's an issue with our relationship with God. Yet it is also human. Each of us experiences this in different degrees based on our choices, environment, upbringing, general temperament, etc., but none of us is free from pride. The entire Bible is a love story between God and man, the struggle of humanity against itself, the fight to be one with Him while miserably failing due to sin.
It's the story of man constantly trying to be sufficient for himself, failing and running back to God, then forgetting his weakness again.
The Book of Lamentations is a beautiful representation of this constant struggle which we experience so consistently in our lives.
These first verses in Lamentations focus on the suffering of the "deserted city," all the pain she is experiencing, the people who abandoned her. The Lord is briefly mentioned in verse 5 as being the one who inflicted all of it, but the focus goes immediately back to the bitterness. It's essentially a sob story of all her lost riches and comforts.
Stop for a minute. How often do we do this?
It is so tempting to go through a difficult time and just complain. We focus so much on what we are going through, how unfair it is, and how awful it is, that sometimes we don't even realize how it affects the poor people to whom we vent. We throw in a little comment to God for good measure (usually something about unanswered prayers), and go right back to our swirling self‐pity.
It's not until verse 8 that we finally hear the admission, "Jerusalem sinned grievously." She took no thought of her doom, didn't think about the consequences, and so she fell.
How long does it take us in those moments to admit fault? To admit our part? To recognize our weakness? Does it happen often? Do we take it out on others or on God? And now the honesty:
"O Lord, behold my affliction, for the enemy has triumphed!"
Have you ever been that honest with God? In your sin and suffering, have you said to Him,
"Lord, the enemy has triumphed because of my sin and weakness. Behold! I am afflicted and lost, and all my comforts and blessings have been taken away. You have not triumphed over my heart, but the enemy. Behold me, Lord. I am despised and empty."
It is not good to sin. But it is worse to pretend that we did not commit it. Reading through these verses, I feel like it's a good reminder to pay attention to how I handle suffering and sin in my life. Am I honest with myself and others? Am I admitting my faults and growing in humility? Or am I simply focusing on the negative effects I have to go through?
Let us ask the Holy Spirit to guide us and shine his light into our hearts and minds. Ask for help in seeing the areas in which the enemy may still have a stronghold. And may God give us the grace to loosen those bonds so that we may be free from sin!