Defective Character Syndrome
I’m going to be a bit transparent here, so, if you have always thought I have it together, you might not want to read this one. Yesterday I was rudely reminded that I suffer from a not-so-rare disorder. Every human has it, the holiest of saints, and most vile of sinners. It’s known by many names, and the symptoms manifest and are displayed differently in each person, but, it can be summed up with simply three words: Defective Character Syndrome or DCS for short.
After a particular rough day yesterday, in which I reacted in an enormous emotional and hurtful tantrum, I found myself reeling with frustration. Why do I do these things? Why am I this way? More importantly, what is wrong with me?
I react in ways I shouldn’t. I have a sharp tongue. I’m quick to lash out, and slow to calm down. I don’t always think through decisions. I lack patience. I’m selfish. (these are just a few of my individual symptoms, but there are many many many more and you probably have your own list).
When conflicts arise, my defective character syndrome, and the ugly effects of such a disease– rise to the surface. In my head, I see the disease being unleashed and spewing contagious venom on those around me– yet, I can’t seem to control myself as well as I ought to. Have you ever been there? If you’re human, you probably have. Some of us just happen to have more frequent, or more severe outbreaks of DCS. (Perhaps I am one of the “some.”)
Last night, I wallowed in sleeplessness and regret.
I began to read my Bible, as I have learned from prior experience– outbreaks of DCS can be controlled and minimized with the medicated words of God’s truth! I found myself in Romans, reading the words of Paul, who obviously suffered from DCS as well, and was equally frustrated with his inability to control himself. Paul gives a description of his inner struggle with DCS and how rapidly the disease of sin takes charge in his spirit:
Romans 7:21-25 (message)
21-23 It happens so regularly that it’s predictable. The moment I decide to do good, sin is there to trip me up. I truly delight in God’s commands, but it’s pretty obvious that not all of me joins in that delight. Parts of me covertly rebel, and just when I least expect it, they take charge.
Last night, I felt exasperated like Paul! Frustrated, irritated and a bit hopeless:
24 I’ve tried everything and nothing helps. I’m at the end of my rope. Is there no one who can do anything for me? Isn’t that the real question?
But then, then, the sweet medicine of truth spoke a ray of hope into my anguished and disease ridden soul:
25 The answer, thank God, is that Jesus Christ can and does. He acted to set things right in this life of contradictions where I want to serve God with all my heart and mind, but am pulled by the influence of sin to do something totally different.
I have hope, you have hope, because Jesus has already done the work! The price has been paid for our sin natures, and the victory has already been won! PRAISE GOD! We will spend our Christian lives continuously pressing forward, continuously moving towards the goal of being Christ-like, and as we do, the evidence of such growth is less meltdowns, shorter episodes, and better control of our sin nature.
But, the truth is, though the cure exists (Jesus), we will not be made completely well, completely disease free until we join Him in heaven made perfect and sinless in His sight. On earth, we will struggle, and are each in need of grace in abundance. If like me, you’ve found yourself having a pity party because of your struggle remember this– you’re human. God loves you, forgives you, and His word is the medicine that fosters self-control. Take heart,His grace, His grace is sufficient for you! (2 Corinthians 12:9)