Sin

The church I attend has been doing a sermon series on “acceptable sins,” and the series is based on the book, Respectable Sins, by Jerry Bridges. I think you can figure out what the premise of the book is. There are sins that we think are really bad–murder, theft, adultery. Then there are those that we know are sins, but they are “little”, right? Like gossip, jealousy, pride and selfishness.

But, a sin is a sin–no matter what the size. I remember my ex and I used to disagree about this all the time. He felt that his attraction to pornography wasn’t as bad as someone having an affair. Even though he went to church on a regular basis, it was clear he never read scripture. Jesus said in Matthew 5: 28, “But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” And, murder, is really bad, right? Jesus again says in Matthew 5:21-22 that whoever murders and whoever is angry with a brother or sister shall be subject to judgment.

Every day I struggle with the fact that I have been divorced twice. I took vows in front of God, yet I broke those vows in front of men. But, every day I also say unkind things, to my daughter in anger because she hasn’t finished her homework in time or isn’t going to bed when she should be. I also say unkind things about people I work with–those that I feel aren’t doing their job. I chime in with gossip when I hear it. I also am quick to judge those that I feel aren’t very Christian. I’ve been struggling over a year now with the people in my “home” church because they haven’t reached out to me since the divorce to see how I’m doing–I judge them for that.

The good news is, as we all know, that Christ took all these sins with Him to the cross so that we are forgiven. But, it doesn’t mean that God now tolerates these sins. How many times have I thought, “Well, I’m not perfect, so I’ll just do it, and thank God for His Grace, that I can keep on doing this wrong thing, and He’ll just keep forgiving me.” I grew up Lutheran–the all-saving Grace of God!

The more and more I stay in God’s Word, the more and more I realize these “acceptable sins”.  Just as I’m about ready to say something negative about a co-worker, I feel this tinge, and a little voice in my head says, “Don’t do it…don’t do it!” Sometimes I listen, and sometimes I don’t. The fact that I’m aware is good. The fact that I continue on with my negative words is not. The fact that God forgives me is good, and just as He has forgiven me, I need to forgive others. My ex, my daughter when she irritates the heck out of me, and the co-worker that I can’t seem to tolerate. It’s all the same, no matter what the sin, circumstance or person.

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