Sin is Bad (Cassandra Millis)

Sin is bad. (I’ll accept my award for most innovative theologian now.) This is a benign phrase of Christianity- a foundational remark that righteousness or good is better than sinfulness or evil. We can all (for the most part) agree on that. Sin is bad.

But not so much my sin. My sin is justified. You wouldn’t believe how the person I yelled at was acting. If my marriage was more fulfilling, I wouldn’t have cheated. Being around homeless people makes me uncomfortable, so clearly God hasn’t created me to serve them. I’d be nice to her if she would be nice to me.

The only “justification” language that works in Christianity, is what Christ did for us. Christ has proven us right or more aptly righteous, because of what He did for us on the cross, not because of anything we did. We are incapable of making ourselves right in the eyes of God, because any good we do, any charity or love shown- is what God deserved in the first place. There is no clearing the slate of our sins with good deeds because the good is what was already expected us.

Oftentimes people feel like sin is a problem for the bad people in the world: the serial killers, thieves, and drug dealers. It’s easy to compare yourself to the worst this world has to offer and feel pretty good in retrospect. But the measuring stick that God uses for righteousness is not based on the Ted Bundy’s or Osama Bin Laden’s of the world- it’s based on God himself. No one measures up to that line. God is perfection, the picture of holiness; He is love itself.

We have to be honest when we come before God with our confessions. We have to be willing to see our shortcomings. In Psalm 25:11 it says “For your name’s sake, O Lord, pardon my guilt, for it is great.” Psalm 40 says “my iniquities are more than the hairs on my head.” We sin a lot- far more than probably any of us notice. We get caught up in our selfishness. We justify our flaws rather than try to correct them.

The 25th Psalm also says “Be mindful of your mercy, O Lord, and of your steadfast love, for they have been from of old. Do not remember the sins of my youth or my transgressions; according to your steadfast love remember me, for your goodness’ sake, O Lord.” Our God has always been one of mercy. He is one of unchanging and unrelenting love. He is the only one capable of blotting out our sin and providing us with the righteousness that will allow us to be truly justified.

We need to learn to acknowledge that my sin is bad. The harsh words I use, the people I mistreat, the worship and homage I pay to anyone or anything other than God is my fault. I have sinned. I have fallen short of the glory of God. They say the first step to recovery is admitting you have a problem. And just because every other human except Christ has had this problem does not mean it’s acceptable. God calls us to turn away from our sins, to apologize for them and make a concerted effort to not fall into that trap again.

This Lenten season as we prepare ourselves for Christ’s sacrifice, let us come to grips with how desperately we need his redemption by truly feeling the weight of our sin.

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