For years, I hated the word sin.
I cringed at the sound of it, hated the way it looked, despised how often Christians used it and doubted what it meant – or what I thought it meant, anyway.
Like many of us, I truly believed I was a good person. I wasn’t a murderer. I didn’t steal. I believed in God. I wanted to leave the world a better place. I tried to do the right thing. I encouraged and loved others. The list goes on.
But I didn’t truly understand my need for Jesus or why he had to die on a cross for me, personally.
God first began to open my eyes, when in preaching, my Pastor explained the word sin in a way I’d never heard before. He shared that sin is another way of saying “missed the mark” or “falling short of expectations.” He explained that just as children disobey their parents or do things they know they shouldn’t, we do the same to God, ultimately disappointing him.
It hit me. I remembered “the disappointment face” from my mother growing up. I would have rather made her angry than have her disappointed in me! I’d feel guilty immediately and most times, find myself begging for forgiveness. More than when she dawned the angry face, I knew I’d messed up when she would look at me and say, “I’m dissapointed in you.” What she really meant was, I had let her down.
Our sin and the manner in which God deals with us is no different. He loves us as our Father! He wants to see us succeed in life, walk boldly in the path he’s set before us, be joyful and ultimately, know we are deeply loved. And whether we like it or not, protest or embrace it, he knows better! His ways are higher.
I had it all backwards. I had allowed my childhood view of God, as a domineering, scary head in the sky, to cloud my understanding of sin and my need for repentance. Sin did not make me unworthy of knowing God’s. [He can't help himself from loving us!] It didn’t lessen me to some filthy disgrace beyond embracing. [By God's grace alone we are accepted, right where we are.] But it does put me in right alignment with God and others!
To often, we compare ourselves to other people. We think that if we study God’s word longer each morning than Sally, if we pray more eloquently and louder than Barb publicly and we help the homeless every other sunday, than we’re good people. We deceive ourselves into thinking our “works” outweigh our “sin” and so long as we’re doing better than those around us, we’re A-OK.
For all have sinned and fall short of the Glory of God. [Romans 3:23]
None of us is exempt and no sin is weightier than the other. Despite our varieties of sin, we’re all equal. Our sin is all equal. I’m no better than the gentlemen in the recovery house or the women selling herself for money. I’m equal to the business man who forgets he has a family and the teenager who steals cars for kicks.
You will have no other gods, only me.No carved gods of any size, shape, or form of anything whatever, whether of things that fly or walk or swim. Don’t bow down to them and don’t serve them.
No using the name of God, your God, in curses or silly banter; God won’t put up with the irreverent use of his name.
Work six days and do everything you need to do. But the seventh day is a Sabbath to God, your God. Don’t do any work—For in six days God made Heaven, Earth, and sea, and everything in them; he rested on the seventh day. Therefore God blessed the Sabbath day; he set it apart as a holy day.
Honor your father and mother
No lies about your neighbor.
No lusting after your neighbor’s house—or wife or servant or maid or ox or donkey. Don’t set your heart on anything that is your neighbor’s. [Exodus 20 MSG | The Ten Commandments]
Despite how “good” of people we are, when we honestly look and measure ourselves against God’s loving and perfect standards, we see that not one of us is better than the other. Because If God see’s ALL sin as bad and will one day judge us according to our misses, then we ALL fall miserably short of his glory and ideal. Even our best is filthy rags.
And while this reality may seem hopeless, God loved us enough to make a way. He sent a perfect example for us to follow, Jesus; a man who was fully human, so he could relate and understand the things we go through here on earth, and fully God, showing us how to walk holy and blameless each step of the way.
Then, as the ultimate sacrifice and demonstration of his love for us, he placed the judgement [ramification for misbehaving] of the worlds sin, in it’s entirety- past, present and future, including ours- on his only son Jesus. He hung on a cross in yours and my place, taking the hit for what we’ve done. He died in our place, before we even knew him! He was a stranger to us and still, he took the bullet.
He jumped in front of the bus for you and me!
You see, the law was not given to condemn us, but simply show us our need for God! ‘Cause when we see our sin for what it is and the weight of what it costs, Jesus’ face becomes more clear. We see our need for him like the light of day and the Crucifixion becomes personal.
Friends, it should bring us to our knees in thanksgiving for what God has done and repentance for the ways in which we’ve hurt him. That’s all confession [saying we’re sorry to God] and repentance [truly meaning it and being determined to turn from it] really is. It’s not a demeaning religious act that we should proudly walk away from. It’s not Gods opportunity to throw mud in our face and shame us for all we’ve done.
He said his burden is easy and his yoke is light. Repentance is the place which we should daily come, humbling ourselves before a loving father and ask forgiveness for what we’ve done. And as we kneel there before him, he bends down to embrace us, hugs us and says “It’s all going to be ok. I forgive you. Don’t give it another thought.”
He removes our guilt as far as the East is from the West.
Because you see friends, it’s not about what we can do or how good of a person we can prove of ourselves. It’s what’s already been done for us! We need simply to accept this gift.
In Him we are new creations and the old has gone. Our every sin has been forgiven.. and forgotten!
16-20 Because of this decision we don’t evaluate people by what they have or how they look. We looked at the Messiah that way once and got it all wrong, as you know. We certainly don’t look at him that way anymore. Now we look inside, and what we see is that anyone united with the Messiah gets a fresh start, is created new. The old life is gone; a new life burgeons! Look at it! All this comes from the God who settled the relationship between us and him, and then called us to settle our relationships with each other. God put the world square with himself through the Messiah, giving the world a fresh start by offering forgiveness of sins. God has given us the task of telling everyone what he is doing. We’re Christ’s representatives. God uses us to persuade men and women to drop their differences and enter into God’s work of making things right between them. We’re speaking for Christ himself now: Become friends with God; he’s already a friend with you. 2 Corinthians 5:17 MSG
It’s time we rise up as a generation and nail the “good girl complex” to the cross!