Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Applying things to ourselves...not just others

What comes to mind when you read that title?

I know as I read it, I immediately think of one who has the incredible (supernatural?) ability to listen to a lesson on controlling your tongue (or whatever the concept may be), all the while thinking to himself, "I hope brother so-and-so is listening," and then goes back to his own cursing ways and negative attitude without ever realizing that he needed to hear the lesson himself.

However, today I was reminded of a different angle on that concept which can be just as hard for us to put into practice.

You see, I am surrounded by people who profess to believe in God’s grace and mercy. If you ask, they would tell you that no amount of good works will get you into heaven and that we could never earn God’s favor.

Furthermore, they would agree that sin is sin, and the concept of “big sins” and “little sins” is misguided. By the same token, they believe in forgiveness. They believe that Jesus paid the price and took our punishment. They do not minimize consequences, but they realize that God calls for repentance, not penance.

I spoke today to a friend who is hurting. This friend would courageously stand up for all of the above.

The problem is that my friend’s mind keeps saying things like this:

“Yeah, but you committed one of the BIG sins!”
“You deserve to be punished…you can’t get off THAT easy!”
“God could never forgive you for doing THAT.”
“This is the first thing you’ve done that REALLY caused Jesus to have to die for you.”
“Since you enjoyed it, you’re not REALLY sorry for doing it.”

Lies, lies, LIES!

My friend would be overflowing with grace and mercy for you if he knew you had done such a thing. I’m confident of it.

Unfortunately, my friend has reached an area where he can apply what he has been taught to others, but struggles to apply it to himself.

I encouraged my friend the best I could. Yes, it was a big deal, but the punishment was already dished out on Jesus. No one is getting off easy…you are torn up inside, and Jesus was literally torn up. But, He was also torn up for that little white lie you told years ago, and the curse you spoke the other day. If you believe those can be forgiven, why not this? Do you not remember Jesus’ words to the adulterous woman? “Neither do I condemn you. Go and sin no more.” What’s keeping you from accepting that for yourself?

Some things are just hard to apply to ourselves, aren’t they?

5 comments:

Terry Rush said...

Friend, you are addressing "the issue" which I think describes the gospel accurately as too good to be true...for such is what the word gospel means.

We simply can't grasp how much saving Jesus did on the cross. We nearly treat his brave sacrifice as unnecessary if we just have a little more time and maybe one more seminar.

We can't save ourselves for the loss is too wide and too deep. Even the littlest sin causes unimaginable craters of separation from Him. His blood built a bridge. Good news: we are back!

Good job on an extremely necessary topic of God.

preacherman said...

Shane,
I think you hit the nail on the head. Right on... I hope and pray we can make differences without judging others. Self-righteousness is a cancer of the spirit.

Brenda said...

I think that part of this comes down to self-forgivness. If we can't forgive ourselves for sinning, then how can we expect God to?
Self forgivness is one the most difficult concepts to sometimes grasp. The lies we tell ourselves are ususally the tapes that Satan is replaying in our minds. Maybe something happened in the past that causes someone not to believe enough in themselves that they could easily be forgiven. Even forgiven by God until punishment comes along.
You are right. It is a lie. All sins are forgiven and no matter what the size. He made us human and knows that we will mess up and the good news is that we don't have to be perfect in order for HIM to love us.
Whatever challanges, hurt and pain you face can all be wiped away by letting it go to the only one that can take it away.
Building a wall around you will not help. Work on change! But realize you will slip up again, and then guess what....He will forgive you again, and again, and again. Because you will sin, again and again. You will feel much better once you let go of the pain that you feel.
It's all easier said than done but I think that He wants it to be easy. That's why he made it so simple.
Matthew 7:8
For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.
When God forgives...he says he remembers no more (Jeremiah 31:34) In Acts Peter talk about how God is not partial! He forgives everyone who believes him.
"Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall."Proverbs 16:18 If you can't forgive yourself and you are too prideful, then you are set in a path of self destruction. Christian forgiveness brings peace, love, and understanding the way God meant for it to be.

We can't be afraid to give our sins over to him. No more blood is being shed. It's done. He's waiting to heal our wounds...because of His...we are already forgiven.
Hard concept to grasp....but wonderful to live by.

joyful said...

so when i first saw the title i though "like putting stickers on yourself?"

then i read the post and really enjoyed your thoughts...

Shane Coffman said...

Hee, hee.

That was funny, Joyful.