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?