FEB. 27 – SIN STARTS WITH ME
DEVOTIONAL: During Lent, I plan to think about my own sins a lot. But I don’t really want to; it could get messy. And I’d really rather talk about someone else’s issues.
Several weeks ago, I was listening to an interview with former preacher and president of the National Association of Evangelicals Ted Haggard, who was brought down from his position of power and fame by a sex and drug scandal. It seems that he knows a lot more about sin today than several years ago when he was actually preaching about it.
The problem with sin is that it is so much easier to focus on it in relation to others, and not enough time is spent repenting for my own actions. No wonder Jesus said, “Let anyone among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her” (John 8:7). Sin has often been used as an excuse for self-righteous judgmentalism, for shaming those who need grace and love and for forgetting that no one is without sin in their own lives, even if they use their power to condemn others.
What would happen if we took a collective break as Christians from being judgmental of others? I think we might find our pews a bit fuller, our relationships stronger and our connection with the only one who should be passing judgment a bit deeper. After we work at this, we may learn that there is room in a loving faith community for pointing out the sins of our brothers and sisters in a way that offers accountability with grace.
Remind me of my unrighteousness, oh God, and teach me your paths.
SCRIPTURE: 1 Peter 3:18-22 (NRSV)
For Christ also suffered for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, in order to bring you to God. He was put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit, in which also he went and made a proclamation to the spirits in prison, who in former times did not obey, when God waited patiently in the days of Noah, during the building of the ark, in which a few, that is, eight people, were saved through water. And baptism, which this prefigured, now saves you — not as a removal of dirt from the body, but as an appeal to God for a good conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, who has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, with angels, authorities, and powers made subject to him.