There is none that doeth good; no, not one. Romans 3:12b KJV
It’s been a bad week, ya’ll – and not just because bad things happened (and believe me, they did), but because I have done bad things. This week I deliberately lied to people I love, damaging the trust they once had in me. I also jumped to conclusions and prejudged someone based on my own bias. I eventually admitted these sins and asked forgiveness of those I’d wronged, but the sense of guilt, shame, and wounded pride still lingers.
When you truly admit that you’ve sinned and have to humble yourself to ask for forgiveness, your ego takes a hit. But why is that? Why is it that we feel so ashamed and embarrassed when we have to admit we made a mistake?
Well, I suppose I can’t speak for everyone, but for me, it was because I expected more of myself. I believed I was above and better than that.
But, the truth is, I’m not…and neither are you.
In the book of Romans, Paul reminds us that “…all have sinned and come short of the glory of God” Romans 3:23, KJV. How many times have we Christians read or said that and thought we believed it, but then struggled to admit to ourselves and God that we’d messed up? How many times have we refused to apologize because our pride and self-righteousness stood in the way? Why do we continue to believe that we should be above sin when the scripture tells us that no one is?
Simon Peter is considered the head apostle. He was one of Jesus’ best friends and his right-hand man. He assumed leadership of the early church after Jesus’ ascension and, many believe, he was the first Pope. But before and above any of those things, Peter was human.
The scripture tells us that he was hot-headed, stubborn, and sometimes violent. He was a Jewish zealot who could be biased against gentiles. His greatest and most well-known blunder, however, is his denial of Christ. The gospels tells us that after Jesus was arrested and was being tried and beaten, Peter was asked on three separate occasions whether or not he was a friend of Jesus. Three times Peter denied it and said he did not know him. Then, “he went away and wept bitterly” Luke 22:62.
If Peter is not immune to the sins of lying and bias, why should I think I am?
Here’s the thing – Christians have this subconscious notion that just because we are now fully aware of sin we should be impervious to it. This is not true.
Christ’s sacrifice made us redeemed not perfect.
Most likely, we will continue to sin throughout the remainder of our lives. Hopefully, those sins will be fewer and farther between, and as Christians, the Holy Spirit will give us the conviction and wherewithal to repent and make amends. But “all have sinned,” and we will continue to be tempted and sometimes fall even after our salvation.
But there is hope - as there always is with Christ.
No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, He will also provide an escape, so that you can stand up under it. 1 Corinthians 10:13 BSB
God always gives us a way out. It is always our choice. We are never forced to sin, though we sometimes choose to. And when we choose to, it’s usually because we’ve decided to prioritize something else (almost always ourselves), above our God.
When this happens, guilt and shame are understandable reactions, but Jesus did not die for us so that we could live lives of shame. He has called us to freedom.
So if you’ve had a bad week like me, if you’ve hurt someone you love, if you’ve sinned against your neighbor, I understand your guilt… and so does God. But he is never surprised by our sin, and we shouldn’t be either. Repent. Make your amends. Ask for forgiveness. And then marvel in the reality of God’s grace and love for you.
Jesus, forgive us, and help us forgive ourselves. May we never think ourselves too good or too strong to fall to temptation; and may we never think ourselves too sinful or unworthy to accept Your grace and mercy. Let each of our sins, already forgiven by You, be instruments of humility and testimony. In Your Name, Amen.