Thursday, October 30, 2008

Staring Down Sin

For I know
my transgressions,
and my sin is ever

before me.

Psalm 51:3

Growing up I heard fantastic “personal” testimonies. Whenever there was an evangelistic service planned for our youth group or church there would always be a speaker who enthralled us with the depth of their plunge into the sin pit. My life seemed utterly boring by comparison. I loved hearing how God had reached down and pulled them out. Somehow it gave more meaning to my understanding of being “saved.” I loved Jesus, but I hadn’t really done anything which to be been “saved” from! At least that is what I thought.

In order to confess one’s sins recognition of sin is necessary. And it’s this snag that continually trips the Jesus follower. For those individuals who live a “good” life it becomes particularly challenging. When we’re told to “confess our sins” what exactly do we confess?

It’s easy to focus only on the sin biggies when faced with confession. We can easily sidestep the practice because we’ve successfully avoided them. But if we are honest with ourselves and read the Bible carefully, we discover that the biggies aren’t mentioned nearly as often as those things we don’t always consider “sin”—bad tempers, irritability, meanness, profanity, dirty talk and lying (Colossians 3:8-9a). Any one of these “sins” we can find an excuse for that seems plausible. But, unfortunately there are no excuses available for these or any sin.

When faced with sin on this level there is no escaping confession. Whether they are conscious or unconscious sins, confession is our opportunity to admit, Yes! my sin IS ever before me.

Generous in love—God, give grace!
Huge in mercy—wipe out my bad record.
Scrub away my guilt,
soak out my sins in your laundry.
I know how bad I’ve been;
my sins are staring me down.
(Psalm 51:1-2 The Message)

Artwork--No Man's Land, Jankel Adler, 1943, Tate Gallery.

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