Strengthen Your Core: Original Sin
Sin… it is not a word we use very often in casual conversation. If we even allow for the concept, we put it on a sliding scale. We compare ourselves to others and generally, we come out some place in the middle, not too bad, not the best (thank you, Mother Theresa for ruining the curve!), but good enough. We ignore sin just enough to be comfortable with it.
Why do we have to be firmly hones about sin? It covers our eyes. It hides truth – first of all the basic truth that God is the good at the far end of our sliding scale. The “good enough” we are content with is delusional and a slippery slope. Any attempt to declare ourselves any flavor of good is to besmirch, defame God’s goodness.
The solution is not to be better, take it up a notch on the sliding scale. Rather, open ourselves to the ultimate honesty. Admit God is God and I am not. Start your day admiring the goodness of God. Turn your sites on Him and worship.
In “doctrine speak” we put the word Original in front of the word Sin. When we read Paul’s sin list in Romans 1:28-32 we find some very familiar things. Paul describes a very contemporary society looking down a two millennia long pipeline. Man alive! Sin is not very original! It’s just the same old, same old. And that’s the point of the word Original. As Romans 5:12 makes clear, humanity has a solidarity when it comes to sin.
Stop looking at sin as someone else’s problem. Admit we’re all in the same boat. Recognize the pain your own sin causes – to yourself and to those caught in your wake. Feel the hurt of all hurting humanity. Sin is not something to simply regret. That pang of feeling the true hurt of sin is sorrow. Now you are close to the sorrowing heart of God. Because God is love, our hurt is his hurt. Feel His sorrow over sin infested humanity and worship.
Sin is not an individual affair. Eve is operating under the influence of an acquaintance. She is very willing to consider her own idea of what’s beneficial over God’s definition of what is good. And Adam is just as easily influenced. They are caught together in the web of sin.
How good are you at justifying, rationalizing your bad habit, your delusional whitewash of actions that are slowly destroying you and the people in your wake? These are the things we’ve done because it feels good because we like the immediate gratification but deny the long horizon of outcome. There are also things we should do and don’t. We simply lack the will to swim upstream and declare the goodness of God’s standards.
Declare today a day of honesty. Admit your habitual push against what God has defined as good for you. Admit the ripple effect of that habit on others. Look clearly at the good you have left undone and the ripple effect that missing goodness has on others. See the web of your sin. Sprinkle your admitting with the phrases “Lord have mercy” and “Christ have mercy”.
Romans 5:17 & 18
Let’s go back to our connection with all humanity. Paul looks back to the solidarity we have with Adam. We may complain that it’s unfair like we were caught in some kind of trap rather than admitting that Adam’s sin is just exactly like ours. Sin and death reigns in everyone one of us unavoidably. Our guilt is overpowering.
The good news is that there is another one we are just as powerfully linked with – Jesus! God’s sorrow over sin moved Him to take on our humanity, declare solidarity with us, take up the cross and give us His sin-free status of life with God. Say that again? He what? Can it be true? God’s grace is so overwhelming you may not believe it. You may be overpowered by the problem of sin in your life, or sin in the broken world. As powerful as the sinful mire we’re in is, God is more powerful! Only He can offer a solution, and it is overwhelming grace.
Give yourself a quiet space and time to reflect and be overwhelmed by God’s grace. Feel the hope He offers you in Jesus. Lift your head with Jesus’ hope for all of humanity. Worship your gracious God.
And forgive us our trespasses
as we forgive those who trespass against us.
Confession and Forgiveness are tightly connected in the Bible, not in the sense that one is required in order to receive the other, but because just as we are all connected by sin, we are all connected in our need to confess and our need to forgive.
David demonstrates the honesty of confession in Psalm 51. Even when we acknowledge the hurt we have inflicted on others, ultimately the hurt belongs to God. Confessing to God is our starting point, then we let God’s heart move us to see the depth of hurt we have inflicted on the other and confess to them.
We dodge confession because we fear being left to dangle with the noose that confession puts around our neck. But we can confess openly to God knowing his deep desire to build truth and sincerity in our relationship with Him. This honesty is His tool for teaching us wisdom. We can confess with nothing held back because we know the overwhelming grace already given in Jesus.
Then Jesus reminds us, we are involved in this nurturing dance of confession and forgiveness with others, too. We are called to be truthful in our relationships and be gracious in creating the environment that allows others to be truthful, too. You’ve been invited to confess to God this week and relish His forgiveness. Have you confessed to another? Who needs to hear your recognition of the hurt you caused? Who needs to hear your words of forgiveness and experience the graciousness of God through you? Ask the Holy Spirit to guide you in these “more like Jesus” steps.
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