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I am still on my never-ending mission to clarify “sin,” because it seems to me as if we are living in a world bound and determined to shrink and edit sin until it hardly exists in our minds at all.

We’re scared of it, aren’t we? We think it makes us “bad.” Well, perhaps it does, but I don’t perceive sin that way at all, I see it as the pavement on the path to redemption. The bigger the sin the bigger the grace. I look past the word “sin” and just see grace, mercy, healing, redemption, Jesus Christ. The good news!

Jesus says in Luke 5:32, “I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.” So we are simply people living in a broken world and called to repentance so we can heal and grow and be transformed into someone who more closely begins to resemble the righteous of Christ.

Sin is a bit like those wild rose thorns that embed themselves in your finger and hurt and fester but you can’t see the darn thing. When you finally spot it it’s like, hallelujah! Call the Great Physician, He’ll have it out in no time!

I admit, my enthusiasm for sin may sound a bit weird, but it is attached to the idea of setting the captives free, relieving us of our burdens, making our hearts light and free with the abundance of His grace. Healing, peace, transformation.

Sin has always been a problem in the world I suppose, but it bothers me more today because I see so much evidence of its symptoms spilling out all over the place, pride, guilt, shame, fear, more pride, regret, condemnation, more shame, afflictions, ailments.  In the Western world, we have got to be the most afflicted and ailing people on the planet. Sin makes people fearful, insecure, and sometimes outright hostile. People really need grace, to be more forgiven, not by one another, but by God. We can reflect grace, but we as people don’t traffic in redemption, salvation, we can’t heal another person’s soul, not really. Jesus Christ can and He does.

In Christ there is no condemnation and if you read the bible, He actually goes to the cross, despising the shame on our behalf. So condemnation and shame are not ours to carry anymore. One of the symptoms of being trapped in shame and condemnation is guilt, defensiveness, attempts to rationalize or dismiss sin, endless excuses, and a powerful need to attack other people and declare our own virtue.

I’ve been there! Most likely I’ll be there again at some point, so it is not as if this is a big secret, as if sin is not a common theme that impacts absolutely everyone. Sin after you have been justified, redeemed, claimed, saved is simply a blip on the radar, a bit of our old nature breaking through.

2 Corinthians 12:19 says, “My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”

We want the power of Christ to rest upon us, because that is genuine strength, that is what gives us the courage to go boldly before the throne of grace, that is what enables us to walk in the full power and authority of Jesus Christ.

Psalms 139:23 says, “Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts..” Job 31:6 says, “Let me be weighed in an even balance, that God may know mine integrity.” 1 Thessalonians  2:4 says, “But as we were allowed of God to be put in trust with the gospel, even so we speak; not as pleasing men, but God, which trieth our hearts.”

So, all through the bible, refine me Lord, search me, know me, weigh me, judge me, test me, try my heart, mold me like the Great Potter into someone who will be pleasing to you. So sin, rather than something to flee or repress or deny, is something to be handed over to our Father so He can purify us, hand us back beauty for ashes. The cure for sin is not our own resistance, but surrender to Christ.

People need to be more forgiven even when things happen that are not really our fault. Perhaps we need massive grace the most of all! I once knew a guy who was wracked by guilt, he had killed a teen ager wearing dark clothing and laying in the middle of the road. Everyone told him it wasn’t his fault, to not blame himself, but those words fell on deaf ears and he began to drink more and more. One day another guy, a veteran said, “that’s right you killed someone, you’re a rotten person, we all are.” I never got to hear the end of the conversation, but those words resonated, they stuck with me and I was blessed by them. Something clicked that day because I too was wracked with guilt and shame that didn’t really belong to me and I learned that the fastest way out of pain is right down the middle of it. Confess it, repent of it, and let God sort it all out for you.

Sometimes our own desire to pour grace over someone else, to tell them it’s not their fault, deprives them of the healing they need to seek at the foot of the cross. A rather bitter, caustic old veteran in a bar taught me that and it changed everything.

As to “living in sin,” I see it more as just a symptom of walking in a broken world, passing through an endless  thicket of wild roses with invisible thorns. One can go tip toeing through the thorns as delicately as possible, but only One ever made it through unscathed.