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Are you a sinner? Well are you!?

June 11, 2016

Are you a sinner? Well are you!?

Don’t worry, I haven’t turned into a fire and brimstone preacher.  But still I ask; I ask you, I ask myself, are you a sinner? The answer of course is, “Yes”. Not that you are a particularly bad person. In fact I look around at good people. Looking at me; it is not that I have a great sin that I need to confess to you all – No, I’m not about to run off with and set up a love nest with the bishop!

I am not however perfect. In fact I know I’m far from perfect; so are you. Anything that is not of God is sin. Sin is something that separates me from God. It is like this string. Imagine this is the cord between me and God. Each time I sin I cut the cord, and each time I’m forgiven the Spirit ties a knot in the string again. Each time I fail, I separate myself from God, and each time I’m forgiven again and the bond is restored.

This happens all of the time. This is the Christian way of life. The way by which I come closer to God and become ever more Christ-like.

Do you notice something?

What has happened to this string? What has happened to the distance between me and God? – They are both shorter.

Each time I come back from doing something wrong, I’m forgiven, the relationship between me and my God is restored and I’m closer to God as a result. That is not to say that I should deliberately sin just to give God the opportunity to forgive. There is plenty in me that needs sorting without deliberately adding to it.

As Jesus points out the more I’m forgiven the more I learn about the forgiving love of the Father. The more I learn of that divine love, in turn the more I learn to love. That is our Christian way of life.

This turns upside down the view I often have of sin and God.

I started out with a view of sin as some terrible filth in me. God could see all this filth in me and was standing there with a big stick to punish me for it all. I was the naughty child of a stern and unforgiving father. My only chance was to hide behind Jesus and perhaps Jesus could stop God the Father giving me a good thrashing. That was so wrong. Thankfully, I moved from that view of God very early on in my time as a Christian.

I came to understand that God created me and knows who I am. Indeed, my creator knows me better than I know myself, far better. Through the Spirit God helps me to see the things that are wrong in me, one at a time. Not because he wants a chance to punish me; No, the Spirit points out my failings so that he can show me even more of the Father’s love for me. He can forgive, and forgive and forgive; each time pouring more and more and more love into me.

My discovery of each thing in me that keeps me from God is one more opportunity for the Spirit to pour into me the Father’s love. That is what Jesus offers to me. That is what he is saying in story about the women who wept over Jesus’ feet (Luke 7.36-8.3). I am forgiven much and so is able to love much. If I think  that I am already right with God, (like the Pharisee in the story) I am not only mistaken, I am also denying myself the opportunity of receiving God’s love.

This passage is an encouragement to be honest with God about who I really am. When I am honest in this way, then it is so much easier for the Spirit to work in me and make me more like Jesus.

It is also a warning for me not to go about judging others. No matter how bad someone might appear, that is their business and God’s, not mine, not anyone’s. The temptation to judge others is just a distraction from my calling to take Jesus’ hand and let him show me who I am. I mustn’t let others distract me, but only look to what God is doing in me.

I am to accept who I am – God knows already. I can then bring that before the throne of God, be forgiven and receive another drop of the Father’s love. That’s my task and the task of any who would like it.

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