Do you ever get the feeling like you NEED to write something down to process it? Today is a post like that. I’m not even sure it will make sense because it is highly dependent on the private issues of someone else, so in respect of his privacy I’m trying to sensor details as much as I can — but I really do need to write this down. As I’m writing, I feel a deep sense of humility and recognition of my own flaws. I hope that as I continue to process it, it will lead to repentance.

Last night was one of my most difficult nights of work ever. It wasn’t because it was stressful or that there were a lot of calls for me to respond too — actually there was nothing all night. I was on the verge of a panic attack as I went into work, but I don’t feel like I can take a sick day because of a possible surgery that I might have coming up (maybe I’ll write about it later, but it’s gross so you probably don’t want to know). I tried as hard as I could to relax and calm myself down, but by the time I got to the dorms I was shaking and could barely breathe. By what I’m going to call a miracle, two acquaintances (and the only 2 people I saw all night) were in the hall reading the Bible and discussing God. On a couple occasions during the first half of the night I had time to just stand and listen to them talk and calm myself down.

So what would cause me to reach this level of anxiety? Sin. Here’s the kicker: The sin that lead to it was not my own and was not even acted on in recent history. This may even be a little bit of over share, but I’ll risk it, I have two MAJOR areas of sin in my life that played out here: First is that I totally idolize people I love. Second is that I struggle with immense feelings of guilt, even at little things and things that are not about me. In this respect, I compare myself with Martin Luther. He struggled with guilt so badly that he would go to confession several times a day to seek God’s forgiveness for every little thing individually.

Anyways, I had one of those moments last night, when I realized (again) that a guy that I love and consider a brother is not perfect. In a conversation that was so nonchalant and short that he might not even remember it today, he told me about some sin of his past. The “genre” of sin is the same one that I would say he is most passionate about people being repentant and holy in. I’ve always known him to hold that attitude to this genre of sin, but it never connected that his passion for the topic was because of his own struggles with it.

I’ve seen the way he lives his life, and I am 100% convinced that he repented a long time ago (well before I met him), so I don’t know why I would feel guilt and grief about his former life, but I really did, and kind of still do. I feel like there might have even been some envy in there; a feeling like I was missing out, like I gave up my “get out of jail free card” by not indulging myself before now and not giving myself that “opportunity” to repent of it, like him. I don’t even know if that makes sense.

The nice thing about having an unexciting night of work and not seeing much of other people is that it gives me time to think. After thinking all night about it, I’ve come to have much more respect for him because of his past sin. He “tasted the forbidden fruit” in one genre of sin, loved it and indulged in it. But, now he’s repented and really cares that no one even approaches “the line” between sin/not sin and lives a life that models it well. Most people who are strong advocates of holiness in this area seem to be people who never would have done it before in their lives, so I tend to take their word with a grain of salt. But, it’s completely the opposite with him, and I see that now.

It’s kind of like this example: the D.A.R.E. officer can tell me not to do drugs. I can accept that, but it doesn’t mean nearly as much to me as when the heroin addict tells me not to even chew nicotine gum — now that means something.