It’s Just That Ugly Part Of Me
Every now and again we can hear a new tune on the radio for the first time that really hits home and arrests the core of our consciousness. Like a leitmotif in a Wagnerian opera, the theme and the words of a song can vibrate and unfold like a flower bursting from an array of musical brilliance. This is was what happened to me one night as I found myself winding down from the days madness. As I thought about the events that occurred that day, within the background, there was a voice on the radio crooning to music and coupled with inviting and intoxicating lyrics that broke into my concentration. It was the sultry and soulful voice of a rising R&B and jazz artist by the name of Avery Sunshine. She is a singer, songwriter and pianist, who rooted in Gospel, brings forth a cornucopia of music complexities. Her style has been coined jazzgosoul, with elements of jazz, gospel and R&B soul. This night she sung a song I had never heard before but the storyline was so familiar! You see, she hit on an area that all of us find difficult to talk about, our ugly side! Here are her words:
“Last night, I got mad and I said things I shouldn’t have said. I wanted him to know how deeply I feel I wouldn’t even let him talk. All he could do is walk away. He was gone and it was too late for me to say, “It’s just that ugly part of me!” – Avery Sunshine
Let me repeat that! “It’s just that ugly side of me!” With that snatch of a phrase I was arrested and handcuffed. God had somehow blazed and baptized the lips of an R&B singer to remind me just how messed up I really am and why I struggle with being a sinner and saint simultaneously. I was able to see our text from a fresh new perspective. Whether we want to admit or not all of us have a side to us that is considered the “Ugly Part” or the “Dark Side” or what Carl Jung calls the “Shadow Side”. I mean, the person that surfaces like roaches when the lights are out and scatters when the light comes on; you know, the Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde part of our personalities.
Have you ever been there? Wresting with good and evil! You love God with all of your your heart but every now and then the “old man” pops up and reminds you of who you used to be. If you’ve ever rode on that bus or walked down that street then you certainly can identify with the author of this text. His name is Paul and in Romans 7:24 he cries out, “Oh wretched man that I am, who shall deliver me from the body of this death?” Paul confessed that he has an ugly part of himself that he can’t get away from. I said to myself, “If it could happen to a saint like Paul, who am I to think I am immune from the temptations and tribulations of life.
In Romans 7:15-25 Paul speaks of his own struggle and lays his soul bare before us and articulates his struggles. He grapples with his own sin. Note these 3 biblical observations:
The Presence of Evil Is Inescapable: In verse 21 Paul said, “I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me.” This is a reminder to every born again believer that we are never too far out of reach from the devils tactics. He knows your address.
The Pull of Evil Is Alluring: In verses 22 & 23 Paul said, “For I delight in the law of God after the inward man: But I see another law in my members warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin in my members.”
The Relief from Evil Is Available: In verse 24 Paul cries out in desperation, “O wretched man that I am! Who shall deliver me from the body of this death?
When Paul uses the term “wretched” it is the Greek word talaipōros, and the word means miserable. Here it is! Paul described sin as a “The Ugly Side” or a corpse that has attached itself to us as an opponent. In Paul’s day if a person was found guilty of murder they would take the victims dead corpse and tie it to the guilty offenders body. They would bind the dead corpse head to head, torso to torso together until eventually death and decay from the corpse would seep into the living body. This is how Paul described the ugly nature of sin, as a dead man taking life from him.
What can we walk away with by reading this? THE STRUGGLE IS REAL! Martin Luther King Jr. said, “There is a tension at the heart of the universe between good and evil.” Sigmund Freud said it was between the id and superego.” In other words there is a civil war going on inside each and every one of us.
How do you handle life when who you really are is who you don’t want the world to really see?
- You Must Make The Confession: Paul confessed that he was a “wretched man” and that there was an ugly side to him. He took sides with God against himself concerning his weaknesses. He acknowledged the “white elephant” in the room. As long as we continue to act as though we have no faults, nothing will ever change in any of our lives. Confession is the first sign that you really want help. 1 John 1:9 says, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
- You Must Reach For The Right Deliverer: Paul said, “Who shall deliver me from the body of this death”. Paul recognized that he could not deliver himself. Paul did not say “What” shall deliver me but “Who” shall deliver me. Dear friends in the faith, it is possible to be saved and still not delivered. The only way we can be delivered is to recognize our powerlessness, stop fighting, and submit to God. James 4:7 says, “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.”
- You Must Strip The Dead Man Of Power: Paul is struggling to free himself from the ugly side, from the old nature of sin. It is possible to strip the dead man’s power. 2 Corinthians 5:17 says, “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” There is a struggle between the spirit man and the flesh and the man you feed is the man that will win in this fight! I am reminded of the story of the man who fought pit bulls. He would fight the dogs every week and would take side bets on which dog was going to win. Every week he seemed to know which dog would win. Then someone asked him how he knew which one would win. He simply said, “The one that I want to win I feed.” That’s all I am trying to say, feed the man that you want to win. God’s Word is food for the soul!!!
Because of His Grace!
Dr. Oscar T. Moses