Our Default Sin
Early this morning my daughter in law gave birth to Isaac Edward Hlad. 8 pounds, 20 inches...mostly head. Mom and baby are doing well and my wife and I are shuffling off to Buffalo tomorrow (there is a song in there somewhere).
A few months ago, thanks to modern technology, my son knew that this child would be a boy and he told me the name. I was immediately flattered that this young man would have my name as a middle name. Lydia’s family has a tradition of naming their children with Hebrew names for the boys and Greek names for the girls. Nate and Lydia have kept that tradition and so having the middle name the same as mine….well, it was humbling and honoring.
This morning, when I heard the news of the birth, I became introspective. Will I have a special bond with this grandchild because he is my namesake? Will I be able to pass on the wisdom of life in a special way? Will I walk with him like Opie and Sheriff Taylor as we go fishing and whistling? So many thoughts of how much of an honor it is that your children would think enough of you to give one of their children your name.
THEN it hit me. My son’s name is Nathaniel Edward. This child is not truly named after me...he is named, as he should be, after his Dad. Nate never said to me that they were naming him after me. He simply told me his name and I never once thought of my son’s name. I just, in arrogance, humbly accepted this honor for myself. I am not, in any way hurt, disappointed, or angry. I am, though, amazed at how quick I was to make this about me. Isn’t that just like us? Our default sin is that we make all things about ourselves. I never gave it a second thought. I took honor away from my son and bestowed it upon myself. He was gracious enough to not correct me.
What is ironic (did I use that correctly) is that I had just spent a good deal of last night explaining Psalm 37:4 to a friend. “Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart”. I was explaining how we make this verse about us. We think that if we delight ourselves in the Lord then he will give us what we want. The verse is really about the truth that if we delight ourselves in the Lord, then we will be more like him, and he will give us new desires that will be in line with his will. We struggle to see this because our default position is that we make everything about us. I struggled with this in seminary when my professor wanted us to write a paper on God looking for someone to stand in the gap and it took me forever to learn that no human could stand in the gap. Only Jesus could fill that gap. I could not see that truth because I made everything about me.
So, I was humbled this morning. Humbled that God gave our family another healthy baby. Humbled that Lydia is doing well. Humbled by the privilege of being a grandfather again. Humbled by the truth that I was so quick to fake humility by accepting an honor that was not fully mine. Humbled by the mercy of God. Humbled that, in spite of myself, he still loves me.