Morbid Introspection vs. Godly Introspection
One of the instructions we are given at the Lord’s table is to examine ourselves: “But let a man examine himself and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup. For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body” (1 Cor. 11:28-29). In the surrounding context we learn that the Corinthians were coming to the table with factions and divisions, some were eating while others were not, and some were even getting drunk, and so they were eating and drinking unworthily, and the bread and wine were not a blessing but a curse.
So we need to heed this warning too, but we need to heed this warning without falling into other ditches. One of those ditches is what might be called morbid introspection. We believe in godly, joyful introspection, but we reject and warn against morbid introspection.What’s the difference? The difference is faith in God versus faith in yourself. Think of your heart like a house: Morbid introspection imagines that in order to do the job right, you have to explore your “house-heart” pretending that Christ is not there. This is like insisting that you have to explore a house blindfolded in the middle of the night. But Godly introspection begins and ends with your eyes fixed on Christ in your heart the whole time. These two approaches will result in two very different results: We might call morbid introspection the haunted house approach and the godly introspection approach the happy home approach. And the difference is whether you are keeping your eyes open to the light of Christ or not.
In godly introspection, you should regularly find things that need tidying, sins that need confessing, but the house is not in danger of being condemned because Christ has taken up residence in your house. Christ is in your heart. He is there, and He makes all the difference. But if he is not there, or if you insist on only pretending He is not there, coming to this table will be a regular terror. So, let a man examine himself, beginning with fixing his eyes on Christ. Is Christ there? Is Christ in You? Now with Christ in You ask Him to show you anything you need to deal with. But do it joyfully because Christ is with you. He is the Light of the World, and He is in your hearts.