Not a Big Deal

“Why do you think it’s important for us to understand what sin is and it’s impact on our lives and relationships?”

I half-read. I don’t mean to. It just happens. Even in the Bible. Today, for example I was reading in Numbers about sacrifices, I made a point to underline each time it said, “Without blemish/without spot.” Well, I missed one for sure. Half-reading. I’m not sure how it happens, I love to read. But alas.

In this moment as I half-read the question at the end of the Jerry Bridges book, “Respectable Sins” that I’ve been pouring over with my sister for weeks on end, it was actually a good thing. It probed an area of my heart I’ve long glossed over. I have to say reading with H has been a tad trying. I’m full of love for this girl, but, she reads like a turtle. Has her whole life. Despite me flabbergasted, “How can you possibly be three chapters behind when I deliberately wait 2 days before reading the next chapter…”, I am actually glad that she is. I think if I had of done what I always do, reading, sometimes an entire book in one sitting, I wouldn’t have been as impacted. Blessing in disguise. Mind you, the contents of this book, while not particularly hard to understand and severely deep were enough to slow me down, at least to a chapter a day, I think.

DH kindly gave me a small cut from the income tax return and that same day I turned around and bought a new Bible and 9 books. For weeks, I’d looked at my wish list in hopes of the moment that money was mine to use, tweaking, deleting, re-adding.

Of all the books that I purchased, “Respectable Sins” was the one I ho-hummed over the most. I don’t particularly know why. I wasn’t going to buy it. I’m well aware that I’m a sinner and fall short on a fairly regular basis. So what’s the point of reading this? Besides, from the expert, I figured I would disagree with Bridges. After all, the Bible does tell us to judge righteous judgment. Actually, that being said, I do wish the website would change the excerpt that they used. What I got was nothing what I expected.

It started so simple. Told me all I already knew. My old man/flesh wages war with the Spirit and I need to put myself under subjection daily. That I am a new creature in Christ and I must act as such. Easy peasy. The author even said so. We need to go through 6 chapters (honest to goodness) of back story to the depravity of man and the wonderful redemption through Jesus Christ before we even tackle these sins. (I was a bit shocked to be honest how long it took). He warned that we must know the basics of salvation, that our sins are washed away by the blood of Jesus.

I’m glad he took that time.

But, I admit, I was eager to get to these sins, cracking open to chapter 7 “Ungodliness”. He gave the definition, added Scriptures. I barely had time to turn the page. Instead of pointing the fingers at others, it pointed it…. at me.

I had to self-righteously put my long list of sinners I know away. It may not have been a real piece of paper, but it was in my mind, that’s for certain. And it was almost offensive that it was me being displayed page after page. Guilty as charged.

Well, I wasn’t going to make a scene and tell H that I was going to call up the website for a re-fund, how bad would that look? (I exaggerate a tad), so she and I continued.

  1. Ungodliness- Guilty. Ungodliness is not putting God first in all things. Do I think about Him first? Do I act on impulse, or do I wait upon Him?
  2. Anxiety- Guilty. One of my greatest sins. I panic. Quote, “God has not given me a spirit of fear.” Panic again. Apologize. Pop anti-anxiety meds. Panic again. And so goes the cycle.
  3. Discontentment- Guilty. It’s so easy to covet what’s on the other side. But would I be content there?
  4. Unthankfulness- Guilty. Do I actively acknowledge that God gives me all things? Do I only thank Him for the big things, the answers to prayers, the view-able blessings? What about each breath?

Are you kidding me? I was so broken down, chapter after chapter. How can it be that I am still such a sinful wretch?

  1. Pride- Guilty. Need I say any more?
  2. Selfishness- Guilty. I’ve been selfish ever since I can remember, even when I was a little girl!
  3. Lack of self-control- Guilty. Gluttony and over-eating comes to mind.
    8 Impatience- Guilty. Much like pride, this sin has been persistent, even after repenting.
  4. Anger- Guilty. The eye roll. The cold shoulder. It’s all sin.

Oh wretched woman that I am!

  1. Judgmentalism- Guilty. This goes so well with pride, especially my sin of spiritual pride
  2. Envy- Guilty. Another sin I’ve struggled with since my youth.
  3. Corrupt Communication- Guilty. I was kind of proud- oh, it’s sneaky isn’t it! The chapter was titled “Sins of the Tongue.” Well, I, praise God, have stopped swearing a good year ago. It’s not that I never say the word in my head, goodness, I hear it every other sentence living here. I wasn’t so proud when the chapter pointed out gossip, slander, and yes, even those thoughts that I dare not say aloud.
  4. Worldliness- Guilty. Worldliness swings us right back up to ungodliness- even though Bridges never said so. When we follow the patterns of the world (even when the world is doing “good”) not putting God first or into perspective, it’s ungodliness. If we had our eyes on God, Him constantly in our thoughts I believe we would do things so much different.

One of the things that Bridges pointed out was having to understand what exactly sin is. I usually consider it a personal failure. If, by chance, I swore in front of a child, I would feel so terrible about myself. I failed being a respectable role model to a “sponge”. But sin is worse then that. The act of sin is transgressing against a holy God. It’s an attack on Him. When I sin, I do not fail myself, I grieve God. And, as a child of God, this hurts me terribly. That’s the last thing I want to do. I love Jesus! I don’t want to hurt Him! Sin is so heinous, and yet it’s become our lifestyle. We pass it off as we are human, and as such, we err.

And that’s not to say that we will never sin. But we need to realize how horrible it is and strive against it. We can’t live our lives nonchalantly with a “meh” attitude about sins. We can’t point out the “gross” sins and shrug off the little ones. It’s only us humans that have a “scale” for sin. In God’s sight all sins are equal. He is so holy He cannot even look upon sin, and here is me, as a child of the Highest slandering? It cannot be so.

We need to live holy.

James 4:8 – Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse [your] hands, [ye] sinners; and purify [your] hearts, [ye] double minded.

We need to live a repentant life.

Psalms 34:18 – The LORD is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit.

We need to actively strive against sin.

Proverbs 4:23 – Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it [are] the issues of life.

Really, all of our sins stem from ungodliness, and from the heart that is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked. I really believe, like David we should pray for a purified, renewing of our hearts, even day by day. It’s the pure in heart that shall see God. Matthew 5:8

Psalms 51:10 – Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.

Back to the question I began with. After reading the book, and going through the study in the back, I ran across this last question. Re-reading it now as I type this, I would have answered differently, but I’m glad I did write what I did. It took my eyes off myself. It put my eyes on Christ. It’s not of good that I have done, for surely each day I fail Him, but because of His great mercy wherewith He loved me. It’s so important we come to the end of ourselves, see us as unworthy, that’s the heart that He loves and draws near too.

Awesome God.

“Why do you think it’s important for us to understand what sin is and it’s impact on our lives and relationships?”

It lowers ourselves before God. If God has no mercy, we’re lost. It shows our desperate wickedness, but exalts Him that He should love, forgive and accept a sinner like me. His loving kindness leads me to repentance.

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