If you make a habit of watching the news, you have been inundated nightly with images of New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and reports on “Bridgegate.” Everything about Christie is larger-than-life, from his 5'11", 350 pound frame to his aggressive, unapologetic and “in your face” style. In his own words, Christie admits, “I'm not a subtle personality,” but many people like how he speaks his mind in a straightforward manner.
However, a very different Chris Christie emerged on January 9 when he held a marathon press conference to address the lane closures on the George Washington Bridge last September. Looking like an embarrassed college coed facing the walk of shame, Christie was subdued, humble and contrite. He described himself as humiliated and embarrassed, and heartbroken that he had been blindsided and betrayed by staffers he trusted.
Although he disavowed any prior knowledge of the event, Christie did what we expect of a leader when a blunder has occurred. He owned up to the responsibility saying, “I am responsible for what occurs on my watch, good or bad.” After the conference, commentators noted that Christie was either telling the truth or had just delivered an Oscar worthy performance. Everyone agrees that if it turns out that Christie is being less than honest, his political ambitions for the presidency are “toast.”
Chris Christie perfectly modeled the behavior we expect when a significant wrong has occurred and needs to be addressed. We expect to see appropriate guilt, shame and regret convincingly expressed. We expect the same thing of ourselves when we have “blown it.” Our failure may be very private, but we frequently still put ourselves through the walk of shame.
How many times have you raked yourself over the coals for behavior you now regret with self-statements like: “What was I thinking?” “How could I be so stupid?” “I really blew that one.” “I'll never be able to live this down.” “How can I ever face them again?”
We grill ourselves over and over until we have shamed and punished ourselves enough to somehow feel that we’ve paid for our mistake. When people do not act this way, we say they “lack conscience development” and call them “sociopaths.”
This way of dealing with our failures is so ingrained in us that we approach Father God as if He expects the walk of shame from us. We feel so unworthy before Him, and so humiliated, especially if it's a repetitive failure. It's hardly a moment for us to “come boldly before the throne.”
When we do this, we fail to understand the blessing Father God has bestowed upon us by making us righteous in Christ Jesus. When the Lord looks at you, He sees you as sinless and as perfect as Jesus. We are given this very powerful assurance in Corinthians 5:21: “God made Him (Jesus) who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God.”
Father God wants you to approach Him with boldness and confidence because you are entitled to, and no mistake you could ever make can change that. Jesus Christ took all our failures upon Himself, and obliterated them through His death on the cross. Learn to accept the blessing of your righteousness in Christ and start relating to the Father as His beloved child.
Come join us this Sunday at 9:00 AM, 11:00 AM or 2:00 PM. I am continuing our current series on “The Power of Blessing.”