Sin’s place in the life of a believer

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Laura liked the connection I made yesterday between Kris Kristofferson’s “Why Me, Lord?” and Charles Wesley’s great hymn, “And Can It Be That I Should Gain?” Both of them speak of a deep awareness of sin and marvel at being selected to be a recipient of God’s grace.

“What did I ever do that was worth loving you, for the kindness you’ve shown?” wrote Kristofferson; to Wesley’s: “’Tis mercy all, immense and free, for O my God, it found out me!” Both talk about being overwhelmed and undeserving of God’s kindness — the least likely candidate to receive it. To which Laura commented, “My friend and I are reading Bonhoeffer’s Life Together together. The last chapter on confession and communion talks about that dynamic of realizing our sin, confessing it to God and our community, and then living in the freedom of God’s love and forgiveness.”

But wait … there’s more.

Not only do we live in the freedom of God’s love and forgiveness, we become empowered to help make a difference in the lives of other people.

Yes, we realize that we are sinners. Yes, we admit our sin is worse than anyone else’s because it’s ours, and we are in no position to judge anyone else as being worse. But no, we don’t wallow in our sin. We don’t stay there. Why? Because it’s not about me. If it’s about me, I will make a big deal about my sin. I will chronicle it. I will play the game of “one-down-man-ship.” “You think that’s bad, wait until you hear my story.” That’s what I do if it’s all about me. But it’s not about me. It’s about me being available to be used of God in other people’s lives. It’s not about me; it’s about Christ in me.

I am constantly aware of my sin and forgiveness. I am, at the same time, constantly aware of the power of Christ in me to do His will and bring His kingdom on earth as it is in heaven. These are not stages or steps I go through; they are continuous realities I walk in. And because this isn’t about me, I choose to put all the attention on the Lord, because this is all about Him.

My sin keeps me humble; my forgiveness keeps me amazed; my empowerment in the Spirit keeps me busy.

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