Saturday, July 29, 2017
CONFESSING MY SINS
Too often we in the Christian church tend to think of evangelism as communicating to the “lost” that they are sinners who need to repent and turn to Jesus.
But, if we want to talk about sinfulness I really think we have to be willing to start with our own.
Like, what if the way we did evangelism was to go out together, in groups of two or three, and find a stranger and pull them aside and say, “Hey, I just wanted you to know that I am a sinner and I really need Jesus in my daily life. Would you pray for me?”
Just imagine if we started the conversation by freely admitting our own need for Jesus like that. Wouldn’t that change the entire conversation? Wouldn’t that fulfill Jesus’s admonition to first deal with the beam in our own eyes before we attempt to remove the speck in someone else’s eye?
Today I was reminded once more that I am a sinner and that I need Jesus more than anyone else I know.
My failure was profound, and shameful, and it hurt some of the people I care most about in the whole world.
On one hand, I can see how God can take this failure and make something good out of it.
If nothing else it shines a much-needed light into a dark place in my heart that still needs to be touched by Him and be transformed by His irresistible love.
So, that is a good thing [the exposure of our sin, not the sin itself of course].
See, our sin flourishes in the darkness. When it comes into the light it dies. So, as painful as it is to look at it, our ugly sinful nature starts to die the moment we put it on display and call it by name.
Still, the shock of seeing our sin in the daylight isn’t comfortable. It’s painful and it’s wrapped tightly in a shroud of disappointment and heartache and failure.
These emotions can easily overwhelm us if we do not quickly turn to Jesus and receive His forgiveness and experience the restoration that comes only from Him.
I've said it before: our walk with Jesus is a process. Thankfully we don’t fall down the entire journey, but on those [hopefully] rare occasions that we do, He is quick to turn our failures into opportunities to grow, and somehow to work it all into our ongoing transformation into people who look and act and love like Him.
It’s not about getting it perfectly right. It’s not about never stumbling or falling on our face. It's about humility. It’s about admitting we need His help and giving each other Grace to keep going.
So, if we really want to speak the Truth in love, then our message to others can't be, "You're a filthy sinner and you need Jesus". Instead it should really be, "Hey, I'm a filthy sinner and I need Jesus. Please pray for me.”
Our invitation to others should be to ask them to join us as we follow Jesus daily and seek His face and partake of His mercy and grace.
If we did this, it would not only place the emphasis where Jesus put it - on following Him daily and surrendering our will to His – it would also force every single one of us to admit our need for Jesus, regardless of how long we’ve been a Christian or much we’ve studied the scriptures.
Our calling, ultimately, is to love people, and that can only be done in relationship. This relationship will best reflect Christ if it is marked by a heaping helping of love and forgiveness for one another.
God will convict people of their sins just fine without us - because that's what He said He would do.
Plus, He specifically told us that it is not our place to convict people of their sins.
His new command to us was simply this: “Love others as I have loved you.”
That seems like more than enough of a challenge to me, don't you agree?
Because, if we love people we make room for the grace of God to touch their hearts.
If we judge people, our condemnation becomes a barrier and a veil that makes it very hard for them to see the love of Jesus in us. And if they can’t see the love of Jesus in us, please tell me where they supposed to see it?
“Hello. My name is Keith. I am a sinner and I really need Jesus in my life. Please pray for me.”