I have struggled with the concept of sin for a very long time. You see, when I heard sin I hear “evil” and “bad”. I have not been able to separate being evil or bad from being a sinner. I could not understand the true concept of sin and it has held me back from God for a long time.
When I was a child, my family and the other occult members that abused me, used the Bible and God’s Word against me. So words like sin and hell were reserved for times when I was disobeying and were used against me as a way to terrorize me. They quoted Bible passages to me and told me they were going to “beat the hell out of me” and they tried to do so quite literally.
So as I grew into an adult I grew into a deep resentment towards God and everything I believe He stood for, especially sin and hell. I refused to believe I was a sinner, or that sin was something that even mattered. I hated God for all I believed He had done for me and I was going to use everything inside of me to rebel against Him forever.
Everyone who makes a practice of sinning also practices lawlessness; sin is lawlessness.
1 John 3:4
Yet when God softened my heart, He really began to do work to humble me in my rebellion against Him. Once after we had been going to church for a few weeks, the pastor asked everyone to kneel in their pews and repent of their sins to God. I kneeled in my pew but in my heart, I balked at such a notion. What is sin and what does it have to do with me? Hadn’t I been punished enough?
But as I kneeled there, thinking about what this repentance was all about, I began thinking of many things I had done that were offensive to God and those I loved. It wasn’t overwhelming, it was freeing. I began to repent of my sins and I felt myself inch a tiny bit closer to Him. Maybe I did care after all if I was offensive to this unknown God.
However, it was to be a long journey for me to understand and come to terms with my own sin. I still had a deep desire to hide everything I could from God, because in order to face it I would have to face the darkest parts of my soul that I was desperate to hide.
If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.
1 John 1:8-10
During my eight years as a Christian, I have struggled with certain sins that have haunted me because of my inability to free myself from their confines. One of those is lashing out in anger and the other is the disrespect of my husband. I have come a really long way in both areas, but part of the reason I have struggled so long is the inability to take responsibility for my sin. Let me explain.
I absolutely have admitted I have a problem and sought after help. But as much as I longed for change when I would hurt others I would refuse to apologize or only do so begrudgingly. When the Holy Spirit would niggle my conscious to repent and apologize, I would repent to God with resentment and then I would not apologize to the person I hurt. I was just so ashamed of myself that I wanted to pretend I did nothing wrong. I wanted to sweep it under the rug and not be accountable for the pain I caused. I wanted to be a good person, and it wasn’t happening, so denial was the next best option.
This denial has deep, deep roots for me, because as a child growing up in the occult you are forced to do heinous acts, and some of those seriously harm others. It is something so detrimental to the mental health of a young mind and it becomes necessary to justify such evil in order to stay sane. I know that sounds horrible, and that’s because it is. No child should have to endure such things, but it does happen in our world.
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”
2 Corinthians 12:9
Yet there is a difference between having grace for oneself and living in a world of complete denial of the consequences of your actions. I have blamed everybody else, including God and the devil, for my continued abuse with verbal attacks against my family. There is no excuse for it and telling myself that there is has been wrong. Unjustifiable.
It has just been so very hard for me to come to terms with the truth of the vile and degrading acts that have been done against me and I really wanted it to not be my fault. I honestly couldn’t see until now that it wasn’t my fault. None of that abuse has ever been my fault, nor has it been because God abandoned me or hated me. But I believed it was because that is what I was told, over and over and over again. You are bad. You are evil. You are sin incarnate.
And so I have tried and tried to avoid the truth about my own sin, to the detriment of my own health and well-being. I have rallied against God for allowing hell to come upon me and couldn’t see it for the blessing it actually has been. We are all preconditioned to sin before we are ever born. We cannot change sin or its effects on us, nor can we take the blame for all the sin perpetrated against us. We have to come to the understanding of God’s truth: we were born into sin, which is rebellion against God, but Jesus Christ can save us from that awful curse.
For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
That does not mean we will never sin again. We will. What it means is God gives us a new heart; a soft and pliable one that is now inclined towards pleasing God and following His perfect will for us. He is a Savior because He never abandoned us to the hopeless despair of sin, but brought us so close that we became a part of Him. It is a beautiful picture of redemption and grace and the only way we can truly understand it is by accepting that we are sinners and it’s okay.
It’s not about good or bad, right or wrong. It’s simply about being either far from God, or as close as you can possibly be. I have walked far away from God for a long time, and even rebelled against Him while in a relationship with Him, but there is a certain peace that comes when you find this Father/child relationship with Him. He gives us everything we need and so much more, and it’s all because of love.
You will never find a love that wonderful and full of so much life and promise. If you are running from sin and away from God, I encourage you today to open the door to Him.
Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me.