September 21, 2009

The Inner Critic

According to the Book of Wisdom (Wis 2:12, 17-20), the wicked man wants to challenge the just man. And, we assume, he wants to see the just man fail the challenge. Why? Because the just man "reproaches us for transgressions of the law"; the just man calls them as he sees them.

If I want to feel better about my actions, I have two choices: choose better actions or eliminate the voices of my critics.

What happens, then, when the critic's voice is my own? What happens when the criticism of my actions is coming not from outside but from inside, from my conscience. I still have the same choices - change my action or silence my critic.

I've found that my own struggles with belief often belie struggles with conscience. A sudden theological problem may be a symptom of a moral problem, a moral cancer that's grown enough to eat away at other parts. As James warns us (Jas 3:16-4:3), conflicts come from the passions. "The wisdom from above is...pure" so our internal moral disorder, in turn, makes it harder for us to grasp Christian wisdom.

We can break this cycle only with God. James warns us further that we may ask God for things but not receive if we ask for the wrong reasons. We must ask for help in breaking this cycle - for moral strength and faith in God - for the right reasons, for the fulfillment of God's will. For Him, not for us.

Today, ask God for a clean heart and for a mind in line with His own. More importantly, ask for the right reasons, to better honor and serve our God that gave us life, that deserves our belief, honor, and worship.
O God, by your name save me, and by your might defend my cause.
O God, hear my prayer; hearken to the words of my mouth. (Ps 54:3-4)

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