Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Sin Separates

When a man or woman commits any sin, the
person has broken trust with God, is guilty, and
must confess the sin.

Numbers 5:7

As a Jesus follower I have been part of a number of Christian “cultures.” I have wondered at the variety of theological doctrines that take such an important role in each of them. The tenets of the Christian faith are the same, but there exists certain doctrines that seem to be “lines in the sand” for separation and clarification, creating a Christian placement of sorts.

The common denominator, however, is sin and repentance. One year I sat in a Presbyterian sanctuary listening to Southern Baptist, Anne Graham Lotz preach that if sin is allowed to continue in one’s life, or in the life of a Christian community, and repentance is ignored, ultimately the presence of the Holy Spirit will depart. Why? Because sin separates us.

It’s not that difficult to envision. Have you ever known two people who refuse to talk to each other over a hurt or misunderstanding? If left unresolved it will carry them farther and farther away from each other.

I find confessing sin kind of difficult even though I know that it separates me from my sister or brother as well as from the embrace of the Trinity. Believing in confession of sin and practicing it, live on opposite sides of a deep canyon. Confession and repentance requires me to go down into the canyon depths in order to come up on the other side. But I don’t like the alternative - living a life separated from God.

Getting down where my sin festers is messy. But when I climb out I feel the waters of God’s forgiveness washing away all the muck.

Jesus, I confess that I have broken trust with You
by refusing to look at certain behaviors,
thoughts and attitudes that separate me from You.
I ask for Your forgiveness. Give me the comfort of Your embrace.

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