You Are Not Alone In the Struggle
James 3:2 We all stumble in many ways.
When my life defects erupted in spectacular fashion, I felt like I was the worst person in the world. I felt like I was alone at the bottom. I eventually sought out a refuge where I could meet with others who had similar struggles. I found comfort in knowing I was not alone in my failures.
The fact that we all stumble in many ways can and should bring you comfort. You are not alone in the struggle and you have not invented the worst way of screwing up in the world. We are all in this together. Your defect may not have the same consequences as mine but we all have flesh nature defects that on some level have enslaved us. We all have things that we do not want to do that we still do. The comfort lies not in trying to convince ourselves that we are not defective. It lies in embracing the truth that we are all defective.
Like me, you may need to find those who struggle in similar ways as you. This is terrifying and miserable at first, but getting better is never easy and if you do nothing, you will do nothing but stay in your misery.
I should be comforted that everyone struggles, but I should also be compassionate about those who struggle in ways that I do not understand. Some defects will bewilder me because I will never struggle with them. I have seen slender people criticize those who are overweight as having no self-control and in doing so have completely exposed their own pride defect.
I may not understand your smoking, self-image issues, resentment, anxiety or gambling, but I can identify with the idea of struggling with some behavior that I hate. I should be able, in my own defectiveness, to find grace and mercy even for those defects I find incomprehensible. Being able to hide my own defects is very different from having no defects to hide. The secret pornography or pride addiction is no less destructive than the obvious food addiction.
I am defective in many ways. Addiction may be my most glaring defect, but it is hardly my only life problem. I may have some success in dealing with my drug addiction only to find myself becoming prideful about that. I may then work on my pride only to find myself being judgmental about those whom I find prideful. This goes on and on. I am not going to run out of defects in this life.
This should not cause us to despair. We are all in the same situation while in this flesh. We can comfort each other knowing that we are not alone in our defects and we can use our countless defects to help each other. This will require painful honesty but if we want help from God and others, honesty is a prerequisite. We need to admit our need and use that need to keep us continually dependent on God. We all stumble often and in many ways…