I'm not going to condemn you.
I would imagine that to be the expectation most of you have had before clicking this post. (Which, props to you! Many will log off immediately after seeing the title.) But, take a deep breath and settle in. If you've been here long enough, you would know that I have never had any interest in performing the whole shame-on-you, look-at-what-you've done, I'm-going-to-rub-your-nose-in-all-of-your-mistakes type of nonsense, and that's not going to begin with today's post. If anything, all I'm going to do today is present to you a gift that God gave me this past month. It's a gift I didn't necessarily pray for, but a gift I knew I needed once received. The gift revealed the chance to see something horrible, criminal, absolutely reprehensible.
It was freaky.
Most of all:
What was God's gift to me?
He gave me the chance to see my sin.
let me explain.
Being a traditional church kid, it always went without saying that sin was wrong. But, unfortunately, the older I got and the more serious I became about my faith, I have witnessed this conversation around sin get incredibly awkward. Some would say that Christians can't talk about it without seeming too aggressive or rude or proud. Some would say we talk about it too much. Others would argue that we don't talk about it enough. Or, if we do get around to talking about it, it's too sugar-coated, not enough of the scare-factor. "We need to be more clear on the consequence of sin," some would say. "We must make people aware that hell is real! And, it's hot! And, if you don't repent...you're on your way!!!"
But, the experience I had of God letting me see my sin this past month wasn't strange. It wasn't unclear. It wasn't awkward.
If anything, my experience was real.
I saw my sin in its complete exposure, in its raw form, and I absolutely hated what I saw.
Without sin's costume and makeup, without its jewelry to impress me with, my sin was horribly ugly. It was as if I was looking at cancer in the flesh. If death had a face, it would look like sin. It sounded like gossip, talked with pride. It reeked with idolatry and unbelief. It ruined my relationships—with people, with God, including the relationship I have with myself. It sucked its teeth into dreams, God-given gifts, opportunities, and my confidence to go after them.
I saw it all, and I hated it. I wanted absolutely nothing to do with it.
And, that's why I consider this experience to be a gift.
It made me want to have nothing to do with sin.
Without this kind of awareness, without the chance to see sin as it really is, I would've been at risk of coddling it, seeing unbelief and fear as close friends through the lens of deception. I would've sounded like the world, counting it all as "not that bad," letting traces of sin's poison trickle in without even realizing how close it is to killing me. If God didn't gift me the chance to see my sin, I would've continued to find ways to keep it nearby. Sin's number would still be saved in my phone, and I would entertain the idea of having a scandalous affair. I would still let myself be lured in. I would still find it attractive. I would do it all without knowing how ugly it really is.
From gossip, to people-pleasing, to lying, to being disrespectful.
Big sin. Little sin. All sin. Every kind of sin. It's ugly.
It all leads to death.
And, it broke me to see my own.
I hate what it's done to me.
I don't like the kind of friend it makes me.
I don't like the way it blocks and distorts my view of my Savior.
I don't like that it keeps me distant from Him.
And, you know what?
God doesn't like what it does to me either. He never did. He knew that my sin will always lead to death, which is exactly why He went ahead of it and put on flesh to die for it Himself. Not only that, but the Bible says that even though He never sinned, He became sin for me—for us—so that we can stand before Him blameless and righteous—not guilty.
And, if God went to that great of a measure to make sure that my sin doesn't keep me from a righteous, eternal relationship with Him, I am no longer afraid to ask God to show me my sin. I want to constantly be aware of how bad, how ugly, how gut-wrenching sin is, so I can always hate it. I want to see beyond its makeup. I want to see sin when it's bare. I want to see the long, nauseating gray hairs growing out of its mole and far past the limits of its nostrils. I want to see sin's yellow, jagged teeth and smell its foul, repulsive breath. I want to see its unkempt hair, its long toenails, its scaly skin. I want to hear the deceptive snarl in its voice when it's whispering lies. I don't want my sin to appear as a knight and shining armor. I always want to view my sin as the ugly dragon it is. Not to mention, I want to hate the hell it came from.
And just as much as I want to see my sin, I want to see Jesus even more. I want to see His glory, His beauty, His splendor, and His majesty. I want to see His face shining like the sun—His feet like brass, His hair like wool. I want to see Him sitting on His throne, as brilliant as gemstones—like jasper and carnelian. I want to see the glow of an emerald circling His throne like a rainbow. I want hear His voice like the sound of rushing waters, and I want to see His eyes like flames of fire. I want to see Jesus, because when I do, I will never want to leave. I will always want to stay near because of my captivation. I will always want to be close because of my obsession. And, unlike my view of Jesus, what I've seen about sin will always lead me to death. But, if you and I both keep fixing our eyes on Jesus, stripping off the weight of our sin and seeing Him as He really is, we will always be led into life and truth, and we will always run with endurance.