If that's not enough, we have a guest and her daughter staying in our upstairs room, and this is not working out well. We'd wondered how she could have found herself out of yet another temporary home after losing her own home (we're the third family to put her up) and losing another job and losing another marriage, and I believe we've found out why. Our roomer is quite unique. We started out gently reminding her that she had no job and it might be good to get one. Then we began coming out and saying, "You need to be out getting a job." Then we began saying it louder and more emphatically. It's been over a month and still no job. But lots of excuses.
So, please dear people, pray for us. The sad thing is that most people who come to you for help really want a handout and not help getting back on their feet. So what happens is one becomes wary of helping others after being used. We're so trying not to be that way, but it's hard.
In light of all this, today's Message is good. We definitely are "Torn Between One Way and Another.".
What I don't understand about myself is that I decide one way, but then I act another, doing things I absolutely despise.
Paul is talking about the law here again. When Jesus gave up his earthly life for us, we came under God's grace and not the law. Paul explains, though, that the law has its purpose. We do need something to go by. If it wasn't for the law, we'd be a run-away, out-of-control human race. More so than we are right now.
So if I can't be trusted to figure out what is best for myself and then do it, it becomes obvious that God's command is necessary. But I need something more! For if I know the law but still can't keep it, and if the power of sin within me keeps sabotaging my best intentions, I obviously need help! I realize that I don't have what it takes. I can will it, but I can't do it. I decide to do good, but I don't really do it; I decide not to do bad, but then I do it anyway. My decisions, such as they are, don't result in actions. Something has gone wrong deep within me and gets the better of me every time.
It happens so regularly that it's predictable. The moment I decide to do good, sin is there to trip me up. I truly delight in God's commands, but it's pretty obvious that not all of me joins in that delight. Parts of me covertly rebel, and just when I least expect it, they take charge.
This is exactly how I feel right now. I'd made up my mind to be a good and charitable Christian and offer our home to someone in need, and here I am losing my temper with her. It's obvious God has brought someone into our lives who is clueless when it comes to managing her life. And it's made us angry.
And, yes, it "happens so regularly," just as Paul says. About the time I get myself under control and repent for losing my patience and my temper, I see her do something else that irritates me and shows her total lack of manners, and I fly off the handle again. It's a viscious circle, and I so want to quit living like this.
Paul expresses my frustration exactly:
... I'm at the end of my rope. Is there no one who can do anything for me?
Then he answers himself with the same response that I know is true. And so do you.
... The answer, thank God, is that Jesus Christ can and does. He acted to set things right in this life of contradictions.
I just wish I could remember what the answer is before I lose it again. Surely, God is trying to teach me something by this experience. Mercy for sure. And being out of my "comfort zone."