When I was growing up, I never thought of myself as a sinner. I mean, I mostly kept the Ten Commandments (the “big” ones anyway). And, the ones I was breaking, I was so ignorant to that I didn’t recognize it. My cohort Camille and I had planned on studying sin for one session, but it has been extended repeatedly and we are having our 4th week on the topic tomorrow. I guess that sin is bigger than I thought. It can’t be brushed over in a nice 2 hour session.
A lot of my girls defined sin as breaking God’s commandments. But, a deeper look into scripture revealed that sin is something bigger than that. It is anything that separates us from God, anything that causes us to turn away, anything that takes our eyes off of Jesus and onto ourselves. With that definition in mind, the doors blew open for me. I am such a sinner. The depth of my sin astounds me and I am reminded of imagery from The Passion of Christ getting beaten and slipping in his own blood.
Looking at your own faults is not a fun thing, as you may well know. I see now what a bully I was in school. I hurt so many other kids. I used my way of dressing to attract the attention of boys when I was in school, and even taunted them when given the opportunity. I see how selfish I have been always talking over people. Silence scares me in crowds so I usually talk too much and listen very little. I am very sarcastic and freak people out. I put my work before people too often. I seek material goods to make me feel some kind of temporary elation. I listen to people talk and always assume that what I have to say is much more interesting. I relate to and trust women very poorly. I claim that I have accomplished great things, when in reality it has been God accomplishing great things. I put down others instead of being more noble and helping them to grow or just loving them. I look at others and think, “At least I’m not them.” I help others to accomplish my own ends. I refuse to help with theatrical things, claiming that they won’t be “high enough quality” to meet my standards.
When I think of the depth of my sin it makes me physically sick. When I see the gap it creates between me and God I feel a stab in my side and horrible weakness. I am not so big. And, whether I’d like to admit it or not, my choices hold the potential to hurt others and to hurt God. It makes me feel a bit paranoid to live, always trying to avoid the next sin.
And that is what makes God so awesome, so incredible beyond imagination.
Then I reflect upon the words of John Alexander, “Sin is the best news there is, the best news there could be in our predicament. Because with sin, there’s a way out. There’s the possibility of repentance. You can’t repent of confusion or physical or psychological flaws. You’re stuck with them! But, you can repent of sin. Sin and repentance are the only grounds for hope and joy.”
And makes me think of the song Lord, I Love Your Ways.
Your kindness has come, bringing sweet repentance
Consequences of Sin:
- Sin steals joy (Psalm 51:12)
- Sin removes confidence (1 John 3:19-21)
- Sin brings guilt (Psalm 51:3)
- Sin gives Satan the upper hand (2 Corinthians 2:9-11)
- Sin squelches God’s Spirit (1 Thessalonians 5:19)
- Sin brings physical damage (Psalms 38:1-11, 31:10)
- Sin causes an ache in the soul (Psalm 32:3-4)
- Sin breaks God’s heart (Ephesians 4:30)
- Sin opens the door to other sins (Isaiah 30:1)
- Sin breaks fellowship with God (Isaiah 59:1-2)
- Sin produces fear (Proverbs 28:1)
- Sin makes me its slave (John8:34; Romans 6:16)