“When I want to do good, evil is right there with me.” – Romans 7:21
I don’t know a man who can’t relate to that statement from the apostle Paul. Much to our wives’ chagrin, we blow it. We screw up. We lose it. It’s a common tale: Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Dr. Banner and the Hulk, the new creation and the sinful nature. The excuse, “The devil made me do it,” may have fallen by the wayside decades ago, but we haven’t come up with a better reason for why we men behave the way we do.
I’m not looking for a quick way out of my guilt. On the contrary, I’d like to understand myself better. When I see that look in my wife’s eyes, that look that lets me know I’ve blown it… again, I want to crawl in
to a hole and die. But first, I want to know why I couldn’t stop it. Like the mythical doctors, Jeckyll and Banner, I try desperately to keep “the other guy” (what Dr. Banner calls the Hulk in the recent Avengers movie) at bay. There are times, however, when I can’t seem to control him.
Before you start to dial 911, I don’t smash things or scream obscenities or hurt anyone, which only proves I have a measure of control, right? So, why can’t I control it completely? Why can’t I stop it?
“I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it.
So I find this law at work: When I want to do good, evil is right there with me.” – Romans 7:15-21
It’s an age-old problem. Part of me wants to say it’s just a difference between men and women, but I know better. And, even if it were, at the end of the day, I can either try to do better, try to find a solution, or I can have a miserable wife. I may even alienate my children in the process. So, I must find a way to tame the monster within. But how?