My pastor preached the gospel last Sunday in a singularly pointed way. He called out sin for what it is. Not mistakes. Sin. You know, the choices we make to deviate from God’s righteousness in order to fulfill our desires outside the context of God’s design for us. The older we get, the more likely these choices turn to patterns, habits, even a lifestyle. Often in secret. Typically in quiet guilt mixed with shame. It could be one thing or many. Food. Drink. Drugs. Gossip. Lust and sex. Covetousness. Pride. Envy. Cursing and coarse joking. Or something else altogether. It takes a hold. Perhaps at an early age. Many people don’t know where to turn so they turn inward. And it festers.
He also explained the good news. That Jesus died in our place for our sins so that we would not have to pay the punishment for our rebellion against God. Grace. Firm dealing with sin, to be sure. But humble and loving dealing with those who are caught up in a sin. That is, a grace which demonstrates how to love well. Like God did for us when he sent Jesus to die for us.
There’s an elephant in the room, however. It was chained at a young age. Because it was small due to its youth it could not break free of the chain holding it. It learned that it was pointless to attempt to break free. The elephant came into tacit agreement with the chain’s power to bind it. But the elephant grew. Quite large, in fact. Always chained. But now wielding power far exceeding the chain’s ability to restrain its movement.
Yet, restrain the elephant it did. By that time in its life the elephant had learned that the chain was far too powerful to break. So it remained bound. It could have walked away at any time, albeit with a significant struggle to release itself from its captor. But instead it remained in docile agreement with the chain’s power over it.
As my pastor preached, God continued to deal with my heart about my stuff. My sinful patterns. I am in the process of walking away as God breaks those chains. I want to be able to sing the song of the redeemed with authentic joy. Won’t you join me? If we say we have no sin we are fooling ourselves (1 John 1:8,10). Yet we can find liberty from sin’s habitual hold on us, whatever the sin may be (1 John 1:9). I will pray for you. I invite you to do the same for me.