Let’s be honest with each other for once.
I sin. I try to sin as little as possible, but there are moments where I can’t help myself.
… Okay, let’s be painfully honest. I probably could help myself. But there are moments where I’m stressed out. Maybe the kids have been exceedingly difficult, or I’m fighting with my husband, or circumstances have conspired against me and I’m way behind in my housework and struggling to keep my head above water. Then, you know that part of you that cares about what you’re doing is right or wrong? That voice that tells you, “think before you do that”, or “you may hurt so and so”, or “God really calls for you to be better than that?” You know that voice?
I get angry, and I flay it and eat it for dinner. When I’m stressed out, I know that I ought to care but I just, well, I stop caring for a little bit. And usually the next morning when I wake up and realize the person I temporarily became, I have this total grief hangover. I want to hate myself. And in those moments God shows me his grace by reminding me that Jesus died for me not when I was righteous, but when I was at my worst. You know those handfuls of verses. John 3:16 is over done, but Romans 5:8 is pretty good. “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” And there’s 1 John 4:10, “This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.”
Now, answer me this: If I can sin when I know it’s sin and when it feels like sin and when I feel like a pile of horse feces the day after, how much sympathy should I have for those who are sinning and don’t know it? If I can sin in the face of my salvation, knowing the cost and understanding the consequences, how much pity should I have for those who do not, and sin, and will some day pay the price?
I’m not a bad person. I’m a mother and a wife, I do the best I can. I work for my church and I have an important ministry. My life rotates around God and my family first, my ministry and church brethren second, and my own interests in a weak third. I’m one of the “good girls”. And yet I’m a brazen sinner. Now, let’s be really horrifically painfully honest: Everyone reading this post has a sin they have been convicted of and haven’t ended- or they just haven’t been convicted yet. Not a one of you is free and clear.
And when I learn to control my anger, I know that won’t be the end of the journey for me, either.
So we are all sinners. Sinners, all. We all fall short and an awful lot of us wake up the next morning wondering why God is trying to save us at all. So, how much sympathy? How much love and empathy? Is it possible to over-feel compassion for those who Christ has yet to touch? I’m not sure it is. Christianity isn’t an easy religion. It’s full of struggles and doubt and pain and frustration. This journey is not a smooth one. It’s uphill the whole way and if you look over your shoulder you may defecate in your pants.
I feel for young Christians, so full of hope and fire. I feel for them because I know that we all come to the place where our energy is flagging and things look pretty grim. But I feel even more for those who have yet to experience God at all, because I realize there is a way where we can come to the point where our sins are smaller, and farther apart, and where we have the fruit of our labors to show for how much we’ve changed.
But we’re all still sinners.