Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Two Sides of the Same Coin

Last week in Bible study, I asked the question, "Have you ever mourned over sins you have committed"? A lot of women nodded their heads indicating that they had. I am not talking about tearing your clothes and heaping ashes on your head, but I wonder if we really mourn over our sin.


I suppose the answer to that question depends upon the sin committed. Maybe murder would cause you to mourn, but a lie wouldn't really make you break out the heaping coals. Maybe if it were sexual in nature, you might become sin-sick, but what about coveting your neighbors 'stuff'? We love to put tags on sin - we like to grade sin as if we were the teacher holding a big red marker. You committed adultery? You get a big fat ZERO! And not only do you fail, you will spend the rest of your life in detention and bondage. So, you told a little white lie? That will get you a 98 - don't worry it's still an A so you can still feel good about yourself (after all its not like you committed adultery or anything). Next time try not to lie and you will get an A+.



Some of you might be thinking that this doesn't apply to you - that you don't assign degrees to sin. Don't we punish our children according to the infraction? In other words, when little Johnny lies, he gets a spanking with the spoon (or is that just at our house?), but when he hits his brother, he gets a verbal warning. If you don't place degrees on sin, then little Johnny would be getting that spoon spanking every time he did something wrong.



Do you see what I mean? We SAY that we don't place degrees on sin, but don't we judge others by the severity of their sin? All of us have sinned. Jesus died for all those sins - the ones we think are minor and the ones we think are major. He died for all of them. Since He had to give His life for those sins, in a bloody, shameful, horrible way, I daresay He doesn't see any of them as minor. Psalm 51:4 says, "Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight, so that you are proved right when you speak and justified when you judge". The point here is that we are not the judge of others. More times than I care to recall I have placed myself in the position of judge and more times that I care to recall I have been judged by others.



There is another side to the judgement coin. Sometimes Christians mourn too much over sins they have committed. For some reason, when we take a good look inside ourselves and see the ugliness that lurks within us, it makes us beat ourselves up. Romans 8:1 says, "Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.." God does not condemn us if we are saved, we condemn ourselves. It is easy to think of God as a loving, caring, forgiving God when things are going well, but when we sin intentionally (or BIG), we think that God could never forgive us. The problem with beating ourselves up over our sin is that others see our torment and it taints our witness. They think that if God isn't big enough to forgive our sins, then He could never forgive theirs (which is satan's ultimate goal - to ruin the witness of Christians so that others will not be influenced for Christ through us).



The devil is at his best when we are at our worst. When he sees our wrong attitudes toward God's forgiveness, he takes the opportunity to pounce. If you don't know it already, satan is the biggest opportunist ever. When we have even the slightest thought that God may not forgive our sins, satan is there to whisper "You have done this so many times, God is through with you" or "Do you really think that God is going to let you by with that simply by asking forgiveness?".



The liar has been doing his job for thousands of years and he is good at what he does. On our own, we are powerless against satan. His lies are truth to those who don't know Jesus personally. His lies are truth to some who know Jesus, but aren't walking with Jesus. His lies are truth to those Christians who are living in a season of sin. His lies are no match for the power of God that lives inside you no matter what satan whispers in your ear. God does not condemn us even though we condemn each other (or ourselves). He wants the glory for our restoration and repentance from sin. In fact, in everything we do, God's goal is for us to bring Him glory - even through our ugly sins.

12 comments:

Eddie said...

I'm reminded of a commercial I saw on TV.. It was a car rental company. Part of the ad was saying come and ride one of our new Mustangs. After the person paid the price, they find out that one of their new mustangs is really a mustang (horse). That's similar to the way Satan lies to us. He tells partial truths. Just enough to get us to buy into his ploy, then we find our we rented a horse rather than a Ford Mustage. How many times have we bought into his half-truths. Not all lie, just enough to steal glory and honor from Christ and he uses us to do it. Love you bunches Dad.

Mommyluann said...

The devil is best when we are at our worst...that's a for sure true thought! Great Great post...my friend!

Mommyluann said...

AMen an amen to "that's a great question" on Greg's site. you said it well.

jcdisciple said...

Watch out Arden, Sister Beth is on the pulpit today!! Amen! Sister! You hit on so many truths today. I have always been very sensitive to right and wrong (even before I was saved) in both myself, and unfortunately, I see it very easily in others. The problem is, I am like the person who beats myself up. Recently I heard a speaker on the radio say that low self esteem or self pity are actually a form of pride. She said it was like saying that you could not believe that you failed and aren't perfect like God! She said that is what caused Satan to fall because he tried to set himself up to be God. That is a unique way to look at it, but I know I have been guilty of not accepting the forgiveness and moving on from time to time. God has taught me that I am not perfect, but his grace and forgiveness are. However, no degree of sin is taken lightly, but if we are truly remorseful and come to him with a contrite spirit...He will always forgive us! Can you tell you have sparked a flame in my soul today? In fact, one thing that I have done today is a sin of omission...I still haven't had a good quiet time so I am going to it right now before the liar sneaks in and pours some deception into my brain.

Stephanie (Ocean Mommy) said...

Amen to this! I agree with everything you've shared here! In fact, I had this conversation yesterday. Why do we do this!??! We seem to think if our particular sin isn't on the "BIG TEN" list, it isn't that bad..

Alana said...

I like what one of my friends had to say on my last post. There is no condemnation in Christ, but there is conviction. There is difference, but it can be a fine line.

The Brady's said...

Do you really spank with a spoon? Hmmmm...Never heard of that...When gracie starts acting up instead of the fly swatter spoon it will be!!!

Greg P. said...

Beth, very nice comment on my blog in response to "that's a great question". I like the way you defend the Word! The best offense is a good defense.

Jennifer Partin said...

Yes, I agree with Alana's comment.

I suppose because I was the biggest of sinners, I tend to look on others with grace and mercy.

Thank you Jesus for the cross!

Fran said...

I would fall into the category of putting sin into categories. How does that happen?? What makes us do that?? Sin is sin is sin is sin.

good word bethanne! Thank ya!

{patty} said...

What a very thought provoking post! Thank you for you wise insight and ability to bring the truth to light. I am so guilty of this, I won't even go into it.

finding out you had a blog: priceless amounts of inspirational goodness!

AnnaElizabeth said...

I'm glad he can read. But if you don't feed your brain by reading, why be able to read at all??
Books are wonderful.

How do i put links to like your blog and grandaddy's blog and people's blogs that I want to be able to go straight to?? I'm having trouble figuring out this stuff...