I’ve stumbled across some fantastic things as a result of connections made because of this blog. This picture is one of those things:
For the person who keeps all of the laws except one is as guilty as a person who has broken all of God’s laws. (James 2:10 NLT)
All sins are equal in God’s eyes. Because of this, when I’ve recognized a sin and repented, I’ve intentionally tried to clear my heart and mind of the sin. After all, God can wash me clean. My favorite psalm is 103:12 (He has removed our sins as far from us as the east is from the west.)
But I did it wrong. By separating myself from my sins, I failed to recognize a pattern of sin that I should have seen a long time ago. For me, that sin is dishonesty. I have struggled with lies my entire life.
Two times in John’s gospel, Jesus forgives someone (the invalid by the pool of Bathsheba and the adulteress woman) and then tells them to “sin no more.”
Sin no more? But sinlessness is impossible. Jesus was showing us a way to be thankful for the forgiveness we’ve been granted by knowing the sins to which we are each especially vulnerable.
I am a big believer in big data (statistics nerd, I can’t help it). But I’ve never thought of how I could use the data of my own sins. Reflecting back, I can see that the sin of lying re occurs over and over again in my life. I never recognized this trend before because I was so caught up in the glorious feeling that God will remove that sin from me.
But God wants me to go a step further and “sin no more”. To show him I am thankful for forgiveness, he asks me to refrain from doing that sin again. To resolve to abstain from that sin is a gift for Him and for me and even for those around me.
But to start avoiding that sin, I need to remember what it is. I don’t need to set my thoughts on the lie for which I’ve repented but I do need to remember that I have a tendency to lie. I wish I had the capacity to say “thank you for the forgiveness, I’m going to avoid all sins” but my brain is too human to recognize every sin before it occurs and prevent it. Instead, I can identify that lying is my commonly committed sin and devise strategies and/or seek counsel on ways to prevent it.
Now that I’ve admitted that lying is a huge struggle for me, I have discovered that I am not alone. Many Christians have taken extensive time to explore the sin of lying. For so long, I’ve asked to be forgiven by God for lying and then let go of my lies that I have missed the opportunity to make a fundamental change and cut this sin off before its committed.
I’ve found many great articles by pastors and church leaders about lying especially this one. I now know what struggles to discuss with my mentor/ accountability partner so that I can continue to compile personal sin data and hopefully see an improvement trend.
By more fully understanding my lying habit, I can get closer to God. I imagine my sins like hot coals. Before, I would pick up the coals and quickly toss them to God like a hot potato that I didn’t want to burn me and God would get rid of them. Now, I give God the hot coal, he defuses it, then I put on protective gloves and ask for it back so I can inspect it.
God is so merciful. God tells me I am not defined by the sins I commit. I have told lies but I am not a liar. Even more so, God is good because he tells me that He will be the strength I need to avoid that sin if only I invite him in (Philippians 4:13).