Turning Up the Radio Won’t Fix the Engine
Remembering my own sin keeps me from judging other people bound by sin.
Sin is a touchy subject because it is attached to the deepest parts of our lives.
I recently heard a minister point out that the middle letter of the English word “sin” is what best defines it – “I”. Sin is always about me, my wants, my selfishness, my way, me over anyone else, including God.
With sin comes guilt and shame – these things are built in. However, we often create workarounds. We find someone who will justify our sin, we leave certain parts of the Bible out, we contemporize our theology to be more tolerant and politically correct – all to make us feel better about sin.
Instead of paying attention to the rattling in the engine, we turn up the radio. Instead of dealing with sin, we ignore it.
But when we finally face it, admit it, acknowledge its evil and destruction, and cry out for Jesus to save us from it, we realize that sin is forgiveable, redeemable, and conquer-able. (Not good grammar, but great theology!)
Sadly, there are times when saved people become critical and judgmental of other people who are bound by sin. Forgetting their own past, they launch personal attacks on others. Although I believe that most believers do not INTEND to judge the person, but, rather, confront the sin itself; it is nearly impossible to separate the sin from the sinner or prevent the judgment from being a personal attack. Often people’s identities are intertwined with their sins, so when someone points out a sin, they perceive that as an assault on their identity.
The believers in the Greek city of Corinth had a reputation of sin – the really bad kind, like “what happens in Corinth stays in Corinth” kind of stuff. In one of his letters to the believers in Corinth, Paul warns against sin, even listing several kinds of sin to be avoided and not tolerated. He included sexual sins in that list. But then Paul followed up by reminding them that they, too, had battled with those same sins, but God had set them free and given them victory!
And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.
1 Corinthians 6:11 ESV
Paul’s words give hope to all sinners and wisdom to all believers:
- Sin is sin; it cannot be redefined, ignored, or self-justified.
- Sin is paid for. Jesus carried ALL sin to the cross and made full payment, offering salvation to everyone who will receive it.
- Sin must be confessed before forgiveness can be received or inner healing can begin.
- Sin distorts a person’s identity, causing them to feel personally attacked when it is pointed out.
- Sincere love and long-term commitment can break through the lies of the enemy, allowing a person to distinguish sin from their God-given identity, allowing them to accept forgiveness and walk in freedom.
- Remembering my own sin keeps me from judging other people bound by sin.
- Remembering what Jesus did for me gives me hope for what He can do in anyone who calls in His name.
Be merciful to me, a sinner.
- May I always remember that I was a sinner.
- May I always remember that I still struggle with sin.
- May I always remember that you redeemed me and gave me a new identity – the “righteousness of God in Christ Jesus.”
- May I always remember that it is not my responsibility to point out people’s sins and make them feel guilty; but, rather, to sympathize with their bondage and point them to the Savior.
In Jesus’ name, and by His grace, amen.