I realized this week that I’ve been out of touch with my sin. This is astounding to me, because I try so hard to be good and do the right thing. I’m a touchy-feely person who often articulates her emotions. I feel guilty a lot. I just studied sin with a friend. So I would have thought that I know very well what my sins are.
But when I read a chapter on forgiveness from the book my friends and I are going through, I felt tied in knots. I couldn’t connect.
And as I’ve thought about this since, I’ve realized that I don’t want to think about my sins. I beat myself up too much. I have an overzealous conscience. I don’t want to feel worse! Plus, I don’t know how to come before God. When I do, I say things like, “Forgive me for not doing so and so.” It’s something I feel badly about, but don’t really feel sorry enough to change. And when it comes down to it, I’m not sure it was wrong. I know it’s probably my guilty soul telling me it was. So asking for forgiveness seems off.
I decided that I would trying going back to the Bible. I read a couple of passages that list sin (Gal. 5:19-21, II Tim. 3:1-5), and wrote down which transgressions applied to me. This was much different! Here are some of the sins I could clearly see in my life in the last few days: being envious, having selfish ambition, being a lover of self, being ungrateful, being unforgiving, having anger, having pride, and being lover of pleasure.
This time, when I thought about my sins, I could have the correct perspective about them! I knew they were wrong. I knew they were destructive. I knew they hurt God.
The subsequent light that went off in my head was this: I have been unconsciously thinking that sin is not being perfect. I tend to see God as always wanting me to do better, so sin to me is an extension of that. If I don’t live up to that standard in my mind, that is sin. No wonder I’ve been off kilter!
So now my goal is to go back to the sin lists each day. After all, Jesus said to pray each day for forgiveness of sins. I want to practice this in a much better way.
And here is what makes my heart happy: I can feel more forgiven. That is where I was getting stuck before. I couldn’t feel as forgiven because I had this impossible measuring stick I was holding over myself. But with a finite list of real sins, I can ask for forgiveness and know that God forgives me instantly!
“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” I John 1:9
The real bonus is that when I feel forgiven each day, I can be free to love more.
“Therefore I tell you, because her many sins have been forgiven, she has loved much. But he who has been forgiven little loves little.” Luke 7:47
I can love God more, and others better.
Being forgiven truly is truly something we all want so desperately, and few of us find. And just when we do, Satan confuses the issue and get us out of touch. Let’s use our Bibles. God is waiting, like the father of the Prodigal Son, to welcome us into his merciful arms.