Mea Culpa

by Joanie Butman

You’d think after experiencing a spiritual Independence Day like the one I mentioned a couple of weeks ago I’d be more patient and forgiving towards others, or at least more joyful. I was, until speaking to the support people at GoDaddy. Just the night before the ‘incident,’ I listened to a joy-filled pastor giving his testimony about experiencing racial prejudice as an African American police officer. When asked how he remained so joyful, he responded, “This joy I have? The world didn’t give it to me, and the world can’t take it away.” Ha! Apparently he’s never spoken to anyone on the GoDaddy or Apple support lines.

For those of you not fluid in computerese, GoDaddy is the hosting company for the Choose Wisely website. I contacted them because the site wasn’t functioning properly. They ran me through a series of diagnostics and determined there was nothing wrong. After 45 minutes and two representatives, I would have been more satisfied if they told me Satan himself had hijacked my computer rather than their robotic insistence that everything was fine on their end. “THEN WHY ISN'T IT WORKING?” I shouted from the depths of my now joyless soul. My recent epiphany may have prevented me from going all Brooklyn on him, as my girlfriend would say, but I certainly wasn’t pleasant.

I won’t bore you further with my computer concerns, but suffice it to say the issues were on my end. I can’t get poor Eric back on the phone, nor do I think he’d even accept my call, so I will apologize publicly to anyone who has ever had the misfortune of working on a computer support line and receiving a call from yours truly. Having been on the other end myself at one time, you’d think I’d be more empathetic.Thinking back on the scenario, it occurred to me that I’d been having a similar life-long conversation with Jesus, my own spiritual help line of sorts following Draconian self-diagnoses. Like Eric, Jesus had been insisting there was nothing ‘WRONG’ on His end, to no avail. I can just hear Him lovingly and patiently explaining, “I can’t recreate what you’re seeing, everything looks fine on my end. If I can’t see it, I can’t fix it. The problem is on your end.”

Ain’t that the truth? Therein lies the problem of guilt and shame we’ve been discussing recently. I spent years trying to convince God there was a problem on His end and begging Christ to fix it. That long dialogue wasn’t anymore successful than my interaction with GoDaddy support. In both cases, my stubborn arguments got me nowhere. I couldn’t convince GoDaddy there was something wrong with their program anymore than I could convince God there was something wrong with His program (forgiveness through Christ). Technically, I will always have an issue with sin this side of heaven, BUT, and this is what Christ has been trying to get through to me, “I resolved it on the cross. Done. Finito. Let it go.”

I owe apologies all around because, as I said, my computer problems were, indeed, on my end. Maybe it was Satan because I went to another computer and the website worked fine. You laugh and think Satan might be a stretch? If his purpose is to fill us with frustration and despair, computer glitches would be a brilliant strategy! Even if there was no spiritual warfare involved here, there is no doubt in my mind that he was responsible for the personal programming bug that was interfering with my ability to accept Christ’s unconditional love and forgiveness.

In closing, my point is that God merely wants us to see what He sees on His end. When we choose to hold onto guilt and shame after confessing, we negate His extravagant gift of grace which, in turn, causes a glitch in our spiritual software. His forgiveness is complete in Christ, so we need to learn to see ourselves through His eyes rather than our own. Christ's sacrifice on our behalf gives us the freedom to choose to reprogram our minds and resist the temptation to listen to Satan’s shaming accusations.

Choose to see what God sees.