It is so much easier to change my sinful actions than to change my sinful thoughts.
I want to be supportive of an elderly family member. I feel a responsibility to be supportive. I am the closest living relative she has. But often it is very hard.
I used to get angry and frustrated when she would complain of many things. I would try to offer suggestions and she would get angry with me and tell me I didn’t understand. We would end up in an argument nearly every time we talked with one another.
I finally learned say, “It must be very hard for you. I’m so sorry.”
But having changed my actions but not my thoughts, it seems like I’m just committing another sin: the sin of lying. I mean, when I’m thinking in my mind, “I’m not going to let you manipulate me into arguing with you about this again,” but saying with my mouth, “I’m so sorry. That must be very hard for you,” isn’t that just an out and out lie?
And then I find myself getting in trouble in my relationship with God. (Noticing that sins have a tendency to multiply very rapidly…) I start to feel angry at Him, that He could make me really think and feel exactly what my words are saying, but He doesn’t.
I have trained myself to answer the phone for the 4th or 5th or 6th time in one night and say, “I’m so sorry you’re having trouble sleeping tonight. I’m sure that must be really hard for you,” but I haven’t been able to make myself truly think and feel what my words are saying. It feels like a lie because it is a lie.
I’m starting to think the missing piece here is forgiveness. NOT repeatedly asking God to forgive me for the same sin of lying (or arguing) over and over again, but asking God to help me become a more forgiving person.
I think when I am able to become a more forgiving person, I won’t need to lie any more by saying things that aren’t truly in my own heart.
Thank you God for your patience. I’m still learning. You know I’m trying. Please help me to become the person You expect me to be.