Prettying Up Our Sin
As I re-examined my heart in regards to forgiveness, it struck me how it is so easy to use clean, pretty words to cover up what is really ugly and displeasing to the Lord. Have you ever done that?
I recently said, “I’m learning to pray for the persons who I kept at arm’s length for so long.” A more accurate rendering would have been “I’m learning to pray for the persons who I despised for so long.” I wanted to say this, but reworded it because it sounded too ugly . . . too unchristian. I was embarrassed to admit after walking as a Christian for so long that I would actually despise someone, and pride kept me from being totally honest about my heart’s condition.
The writer of Proverbs has a lot to say about that:
“The Lord tears down the house of the proud, but maintains the widow’s boundaries” (15:25).
“Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall” (16:18).
There is something to be said about calling sin what it really is. When I can be honest with myself about the depravity of my sin, it helps me to become more humble. It keeps me closer to the place of brokenness where He can use me, and can be glorified through my life. And it helps me to live a life of gratitude for His great sacrifice on the cross.
I’m going out on a limb here, but I think this may be true for a lot of us in the Christian community. I think we sanitize our sin so it looks a lot prettier than it is. In this era of political correctness, we have edited out strong words that evoke emotion and elicit strong responses. We hate, yet we choose to call it dislike. We are rude, yet we call it having a bad day. We lie, yet we call it stretching the truth. We are brazen and full of pride, yet we call it assertiveness.
God’s way, however, is much different. Radical, really. He calls and enables us to exchange love for hate, gentleness for rudeness, truth for lies, and humility and brokenness for pride.
In light of this, job one for me today is to call sin what it really is in my life. Like David I will say, “Create in me a clean heart, O Lord, and renew a right spirit within me (Psalm 51:10).” Then I will thank Him for His marvelous grace that covers a multitude of sins, washes me white as snow, and allows me to know and experience the freedom of forgiveness . . . that same forgiveness that I am constrained to readily share with those who have offended me. It is a whole lot easier to do that when I’m in touch with how dark my own sin is.
What about you? How have you been prettying up the sin in your life? What would calling sin “sin” look like in your life?
“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).