My office is a kind of Bermuda Triangle for pens. I can be sitting alone and the pen I was using just a few minutes ago will have disappeared. Last week I began to suspect the Pen Monster of coming in and gobbling up my pens. One friend suggested if it was red pens it might be the ink-red-ible hulk! But actually the truth was more startling – I began to realise that the Pen Monster was me! My first clue was when I went to kitchen to make a cup of tea and found one of my pens by the kettle. Next I went to my bosses office and found another pen where I had been filing sermons – he was safely tucked up a home recovering from an op, so he is definitely not the Pen Monster. So by the end of the day I realised that the only Pen Monster around was me.
I have a habit of picking up pens wherever I am – so be warned if I visit your office – and redistributing them as I journey. I don’t plan it, I don’t even realise that I am doing it. I know it is not too shocking a confession but it reminded me of the fact that we all have capability of being monsters because of our sinful nature. Even the Apostle Paul struggled with his inner monsters:
Romans 7:15-20 What I don’t understand about myself is that I decide one way, but then I act another, doing things I absolutely despise. 16 So if I can’t be trusted to figure out what is best for myself and then do it, it becomes obvious that God’s command is necessary. 17 But I need something more! For if I know the law but still can’t keep it, and if the power of sin within me keeps sabotaging my best intentions, I obviously need help! 18 I realize that I don’t have what it takes. I can will it, but I can’t do it. 19 I decide to do good, but I don’t really do it; I decide not to do bad, but then I do it anyway. 20 My decisions, such as they are, don’t result in actions. Something has gone wrong deep within me and gets the better of me every time. (The Message)
We all have the capability of being the worst monsters – you only need to pick up a newspaper to see. But thankfully if we bring our monsters into the light and expose them before God he will forgive us.
1 John 1:7-9 But if we walk in the light, God himself being the light, we also experience a shared life with one another, as the sacrificed blood of Jesus, God’s Son, purges all our sin. 8 If we claim that we’re free of sin, we’re only fooling ourselves. A claim like that is errant nonsense. 9 On the other hand, if we admit our sins–make a clean breast of them–he won’t let us down; he’ll be true to himself. He’ll forgive our sins and purge us of all wrongdoing. (The Message)
We all know from childhood that monsters can only live in the dark and secret places. Lord, I ask you to shine your light on my secret monsters, my sinful tendencies so that they have no control over me.