Chipping Away the Sin
November 13, 2018
“…let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us” (Hebrews 12:1, NIV 1984).
I hurt a Christian friend this week. We work with shared responsibilities, and my frustration over his part in this had grown to the point that I just boiled over and listed all of his delinquencies. I was not cruel or untruthful in my delivery, but I was not kind either, and I hurt him deeply. The Lord pounded me for three days, the last one ending in a sleepless night. And then, I went to ask forgiveness.
The Lord tattooed five truths on my heart with this painful experience.
- Don’t hold stuff in. When disagreements arise, offer the concerns in small handfuls, with kindness, before they become so heavy that you hammer them in them with anger.
- I am not yet perfect. God certainly has chipped away much of my wasted stone but the face of Jesus in my life is not yet fully visible. There are so many chips of wasted and ugly rock in the sculpture of my life that the Great Sculptor is still perfecting. “I am sorry, Lord, again.”
- When I sin, I hurt others. A cannon properly tethered can be a powerful naval weapon, but a loose cannon injures others who are fighting on deck. I must never think my sin is my own. Not only is God injured when I turn from Him, so are others I care for. I need to be aware. I need to dress the wounds of those I injure. I need to ask forgiveness.
- As Christians, God won’t let our sin stay silent. In this circumstance above, God spoke louder and louder until I heard and acted. Those who have not experienced the presence of Christ in their lives have it easy. They have a cultural conscience that can often be shushed. God will not be shushed when a follower fails, praise His name. As Oswald Chambers puts it: “That is why the life of God within the saint produces agony every now and again, because God won’t leave us alone; He won’t say ‘Now that will do.’ He will keep at us, blazing and burning us. ‘He is a consuming fire.’”
- When I am repentant, God will not waste my sin. I should look more like Jesus now than I did before, praise His name. As Abraham said to Maria the Harlot in The Life of Maria the Harlot by Archdeacon Ephraim, “It is not new to fall, my daughter. What is wrong is to lie down where you have fallen. The devil once mocked you but know he will know that you can rise stronger than before.”
Someday we will see Jesus face to face and we will be perfected. But not yet. Our sin is never good and always bad. But we serve a living Savior who will take even the worst of us and use it to make the best of us for His glory.
Change me and let even my sins bring glory to your Name as you correct them and heal the ones I have injured.