I'm Basically A Good Person

How many times have you heard the phrase, “I am basically a good person?” We live in a safe community of home-spun people with traditional values. We enjoy low crime, low drugs, and good schools. While we have many good things going for us, there is something killing us. It is called sin.
Don’t let the comfort and safety of our community blind you to the sin in our lives. Most of us think we are “basically good people” because we don’t understand how the Bible defines sin. Like our morning look in the mirror, the Bible shows our problem with sin is much more serious than we first realized. Some ways the Bible defines sin are:

Sin is omission, not just commission. A sin of commission is what we do wrong. A sin of omission is what we fail to do right. For example, imagine a child is mistreated at one of our local daycares. The wacko who mistreated the child is guilty of a sin of commission, they chose to do something sinful. The daycare, that failed to do an adequate background check on their employee, is guilty of a sin of omission. When we fail to do something we should have done, we sin.
Sin is deeper than actions. Sin is not just what we do but it is what we think, the words we say in our heart and even the motives behind our actions. That means the man who helps the single mother may not be as virtuous as he appears.
Sin is ignoring God. Simply ignoring God and doing our own thing is called the sin of godlessness. Giving our deepest affections to someone or something other than Christ is the sin of idolatry.
Sin is not necessarily criminal. We will not be arrested for most of the sin in our life. We won’t be arrested for adultery, lust, a white-lie, a black-lie or any other type of lie. While we won’t be arrested for those sins, before God, we are still guilty of sin.
Sin is breaking the law of conscience. What may be right for you, may be wrong for others. Romans 14:23 tells us sin is violating what God convicts us of in our heart. That will not be the same for everyone. If we feel something is wrong, until God changes our thinking, when we violate our conscience, we are guilty of sin.
The biblical mirror gives us a picture of the extent and damage sin has done to us. Not only will our bodies die because of sin but sin taints our thinking, our feelings, our motives and our desires. If we think we are basically a good person, the truth be told, we are in a more pitiable state than we realize. Even the way we face our sin is sinful. For example, we often say:
I’m the exception to the rule. I hear this all the time. We know what the Bible says about purity and truth, but we see ourselves as the exception. I see this in marriages. While the Bible tells us God hates divorce, everybody is convinced their marriage is different. They are the exception to the rule.
Blame Shifting We like to lay the blame for our sin on someone else rather than take responsibility for our own actions. For example, a husband parades around his house yelling at his wife, stomping his feet and threatening her like a 4th grade school bully. When somebody confronts him about this, he blames it on her. “I wouldn’t yell at her if she didn’t make me so angry!” That is blame shifting. It is blaming someone else for his sinful choices.
I’m a victim This is claiming our sin is justified because we were victimized by others. We blame it on our genes. We blame it on our parents. We say it was because we grew up rich. We say it was because we grew up poor. We say it was because we didn’t get enough affection. We say it was because we were tired. Everybody thinks that if they can wave the “victim” flag they have a green light for sin! That is a sinful response to sin.
When we see the sin in our life, the only right response is to confess it, repent of it and trust in Christ for forgiveness! Don’t pretend sin is not sinful, Don’t dress it up and celebrate it. Call sin what it is; ugly, wicked, godless rebellion against the God of the universe. Sin is killing us. The only answer is to run to the arms of Jesus. He loves us, he died to forgive us. He promises to break our love for sin and, in it’s place, give us a love for Jesus.
What sins are you struggling with today? Ask God, through Christ, to forgive you. If you have sinned against someone, gather your courage, confess your sin to them. Ask for their forgiveness too.
We may live in a great town, with nice schools and kind people, but sin is killing us from the inside out. Repent and trust in Jesus. He is the only hope, the greatest joy and the freedom from sin we all need.
This article was written for Dickinson County News - 10/8/2010

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