Judo holiness…

To be Christian is to struggle with the reality of sin, the knowledge that somewhere deep inside of us there is a profound disconnect between the way we ought to be and the way we are that manifests itself as a kind of murder against ourselves, each other, the structures we live in, and the very creation itself.

I am no master at dealing with sin, my life is more a testimony to surviving it through grace over and above vanquishing it, but there is a little wisdom acquired in pain that may be worth sharing.

They say we must wrestle against sin but in truth it may be more like judo. Let me explain. Part of the genius of judo and other martial arts is the ability to turn the force of an opponent against them. The force of an opponent’s actions, when properly handled, can actually magnify the strength and impact of the person defending against it.

Temptation and sin are often effective because they touch something inside of us, a place where we are vulnerable and needy, and therefore it has impact and can induce us to actions that would even repulse us were all things the way they should be. These needy and vulnerable spots are unique to us reflecting our life experiences, our psychology, and perhaps even our genetics to some extent. Regardless, they exist and Satan, through trial and error, is aware of them like any good enemy knows a combatant’s weak spots.

But there lies the potential solution and its about a simple question people don’t often ask. Why is this temptation, this sin so powerful for me? What does it reveal about me and where I need to grow and change and work to eliminate its strength? Why is it that say, bank robbery has very little power over me as a temptation but lust is strong? Why do I find myself doing almost anything to get approval but could care little for doing someone personal harm?

This may sound like a radical thing but perhaps we should, with good help, not just drown out our temptations and sins but listen to what they reveal about us and then in coming to that knowledge use it to correct the part of us that makes us vulnerable to its charm.

Some studies, for example, show that for the most part men do not commit adultery purely for the sake of sex but rather because there is a lack of intimacy or depth in their marriage. A man seriously tempted towards this sin has two choices. Either he gives in or for a brief moment he asks “Why do I feel like I want to do this?” If he probes just a little, especially with Godly counsel, these underlying vulnerabilities and needs will quickly surface and if he wishes he can address them and fix the real problem without devastating himself or his family. The temptation reveals a place in his life where grace and healing need to be and thus lays the basis for its own mangement and eventual demise.

Now there is no quick fix in any of this. Our wounds are often deep and our vulnerabilities complex but somewhere between rashly acting out or killing ourselves with guilt over the dark and weak spots in our lives that are so vulnerable to attack there is a place where we can learn to hear what they say to us and by grace take steps to shore up the levee and weather the storm.

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