"For I know my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me."
-Psalm 51:3 ESV
I recently began reading through an excellent book called Whiter Than Snow: Meditations On Sin And Mercy by Paul David Tripp. As I read this morning, I was struck by how much one of the chapters reminded me of the unconverted Brandon Kent in Filmodus Operandi. The chapter spoke of how sin lives in a costume, which is why it's so hard to recognize in ourselves.
"But I've realized that that was because the false Christianity he described in the email was the only Christianity I had experienced. I was conforming to what people expected of me, and everything that I might have called "Christian" in my life was geared towards self."
-Brandon Kent, Filmodus Operandi
What Brandon says in the film shows me how we're all too skilled at looking at our own wrong and seeing good. We're all so much better at seeing the sin, weakness, and failure of others than we are our own. A huge part of sin is its deception. Evil simply doesn't present itself as evil; it causes us not to hear or see ourselves with accuracy.
Yet, we also see that viewing ourselves accurately is the product of God's grace in our lives. It is only in the mirror of God's Word and with the help of the Holy Spirit that we are able to truly see ourselves. Only by God's grace in regeneration may we see ourselves clearly, so that we would not buy into the delusion of our own righteousness, and so that with a humble sense of need we would seek the resources of grace that can only be found in Him.
David experienced this same thing in Psalm 51 and Brandon experienced it in the film. We see through this psalm a contrite heart, a sad confession, an acknowledgement of David's own sin, and the holiness of God. Though it pains me every time to read about David's broken state and to watch Brandon's sad state of self-righteousness, the end of the psalm and the end of the film cause me to joy in Christ's work in me to open this sinner's blind eyes.
At the end of the chapter, Mr. Tripp poses two self-examination questions. "Do you pray for open eyes to see yourself more clearly? Is your confidence in Christ so firm that you are unafraid to pray that God would free you from your own patterns of self-swindling that keep you blind and inhibit your growth?"