Confession: I can convince myself that I don’t sin all that often. I know, I know…..the sin of pride right there. But here’s what I mean.
If I hold up my life and run it through the grid of, say, the Ten Commandments, I’m doing pretty okay. I haven’t killed anyone and I haven’t slept with anyone else’s husband.
Plus, I’m a goody-two-shoes who not only likes to follow the rules, I kinda get mad at people who don’t. (Yes, I’m still a bit of a Pharisee, it seems.)
I try to be a good girl. I like being a good girl. I don’t want to hurt anyone. I want to be kind. I want to help when I can. I want to and try to tell the truth. I lead a quiet, simple life. I’m more consistently grateful now than I’ve ever been. You get the picture: I don’t like to sin, I don’t want to sin, I try not to sin.
And yet. Come on. I’m only human. And I so totally sin all the time.
First, there’s that whole thing that Jesus talked about when we think about something or dwell on it in our hearts, it’s the same as doing it. Yikes. I haven’t killed anyone but I sure have been angry enough to want to. And I perhaps haven’t slept with anyone else’s husband, but….. Anyway…..again, you get the picture.
But I’m not talking about any of that right now. I’m talking about this other thing that highlights my sin nature left and right, all day long. It’s when my brokenness turns into sin, and we don’t even really look at it that way, but I think we should.
Now, before I jump in, I don’t mean I think we should dwell on what big fat sinners we really are and how dark and black our hearts truly are to the detriment of our joy, or as if to put Jesus back up on the cross over and over again. He said it was finished and it was and it is. But still…..we maybe need to look inside a little bit every once in a while. Let me give you an example.
Say you’re in a new relationship. And something is said that pricks your heart. And you have no idea why, and so you say something sarcastic because you’re hurt and uncomfortable and want to end the conversation because you’ve just emotionally shut down, but you don’t realize ANY of this has just happened. And it turns out that the thing that was said reminded you – you realize hours later – of something your ex- said to you. Now, you can take the time to sit with it and sift it out and try to determine how much of a painful thing was really said to you and how much is really just your painful past rearing its ugly head, and you can go back to the new person and say those hard words, even if you’re scared, and apologize for being sarcastic and shutting down, and that would be called trying to get healthy. Or, you can pretend it never happened. But the other person is now hurt. And you have just erected a tiny wall around your heart because you’re not going to feel that pain again, and you are on your way to successfully sabotaging this new relationship, possibly derailing something really good, and potentially hurting another person’s heart who has no idea what’s going on inside of you.
But how is that sin and not just dysfunction? It’s sin if you aren’t honest with yourself. It’s sin if you’re not honest with this other person. It’s sin if you don’t look inside and confront what’s really going on. It’s sin if you let your past drag you and someone else down. It’s sin if you hurt someone else out of fear or sadness. It’s sin if you never acknowledge that you hurt this person. It’s sin if you never apologize or try to make amends. It’s sin. Your brokenness – when left unchecked and uninvestigated – can turn into sin that can hurt other people and that will – I promise you this – hurt you time and time again.
We all sin. Perhaps more than we think. I don’t say this to be a downer. I say this to remind us that we need Jesus so desperately. Not just to save us from hell, but to save us from ourselves. To rescue us from our past. To restore us and turn us into something whole. And the best news: there’s enough grace to cover over anything you’ve already done, and it’s got the power to help you become who he created you to be.
He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. –II Corinthians 12:9-
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