Awhile ago I wrote a tribute to Francis Schaeffer for my son, Tim. I mentioned an interaction I had with Schaeffer’s daughter, Susan, that was life-transforming – an unstudied moment in which her residual sanctification shone through in a way that helped me understand grace at a much deeper level. I called this ‘incidental holiness’. Something spur of the moment that could not possibly be contrived, but illustrates a basic facet of Christian character.

I believe in incidental holiness. I love it.

But the other day I was thinking of the flip side of this. Incidental depravity. In me. The kind that seems to shoot out of nowhere when I am least expecting it.

I am a Costco junkie – have been for almost twenty years – from way back when it was called Price Club. At least once a week I wend my way along a couple of highways, through stop signs and parking lots to get to my destination of choice.

Last week, for some reason, I was monitoring myself a little more closely than usual. And what did I notice?

Underneath the controlled exterior was a constant undercurrent of sheer malevolence.

Don’t you dare pull through that four-way stop ahead of me!…Walk faster! I am behind you and I want to get through this aisle quickly!….Let me get to that checkout counter first!…Micro-moments of sheer rage. This is my world!

Make way for Barbara the Great!

An everyday shopping trip can show me up – at least to myself – in all the ‘foulness of my fallenness’. (That has a certain ring….)

I hate it. My sin, that is. Not being shown my sin, though that can be very uncomfortable!

(The old two-step program of knowing God: Lord, show my myself; Lord, show me thyself – holds true from conversion to last breath, doesn’t it?)

In any case, my incidental depravity amazes me.

But again and again I fall back on that self-evident truth that it does not amaze God. He knew all about it, in its full goriness, when he took me on.

That is such a comfort to me. There is nothing about me he doesn’t understand. Nothing he has not provided for, in Christ

And my incidental depravity only propels me to move closer and closer to him.

For my protection from myself.

And for your protection from me!