This post was originally shared on the site “Letters To My Sisters.” For more devotional readings, you can follow my writing over on the LTMS blog here.
For seven years my mother had cancer, but what concerned her more was the condition of her soul. You see, my mom realized the biggest problem we face in this life is not disease or death, but sin. Sin is a spiritual cancer we need to fight. As it says in Romans 3, “None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God.” All are sick with sin.
“Be killing sin or it will be killing you.” – John Owen, The Mortification of Sin
When I went to counseling, I learned just how damaging sin can be. It may be easy to justify or seem fine in the moment, but sin leads to death (Rom. 6:23).
D – damages
E – entangles
A – alienates
T – twists the truth
H – hampers growth
Sin isn’t just harmful to ourselves, it destroys our relationship with God and others.
“Being calloused towards sin [is] a sign of being indifferent towards God.” – Jackie Hill Perry
Sin is a terminal disease, but thankfully their is a cure. God is the Great Physician.
God measures our sins (Rom. 5:20) but does not count our sins against us, because of Christ (Rom. 4:7-8).
We all have been affected by sin. Either by our own sin or from the sins of others, it’s just part of living in a fallen world. People sin against us all the time and we probably hurt people in ways we do not even know about. But God is without sin. God doesn’t have any skeletons in the closet. The secrets of God are only good things and bring pleasure and assurance.
If counseling taught me anything, it exposed my sin to me. Often we think other people are the problem without ever looking inside ourselves. We do not know our own hearts (Psalms 19:12; Jeremiah 17:9). I am aware of the sins of others, but blind to my own.
“[God] graciously holds up the mirror of his Word, and my heart is laid bare. I am reminded that I am fully knowable, fully known.” – Jen Wilkin, None Like Him
I used to think it was a bad thing that God knows our hearts (139:1-6;1 Cor 10:13), but God truly knows when I try and understands my personal struggles in a way no one else could. God accepts me the way I am because I am in Christ. But there is no acceptance without repentance.
“We cannot create repentance where there is unrepentance, but we can cry out to the God who can.” – Jen Wilkin
I am not perfect, but I am no longer a slave to sin. God has shown grace to me, so I should show grace to others. It’s hard to watch those I love struggle or succumb to sin, but all I can do is speak truth into their life and trust in God. Only he can change sinful hearts.