Sin or Mistake?

So I’m sitting in a group talking about the dumb things we do in life and I hear that new but familiar whisper in my mind, “God takes care of our sin.  He doesn’t need to fix our mistakes, we do.”

It was quite an abrupt thought actually.  I had to ask myself, “Is it a mistake when I get angry or is it a sin of judgement and unkindness?  Is it a mistake that I hurt someone’s feelings or a sin? What’s the difference and why does it matter?”

For me a mistake is something I do by accident, without premeditated thought and without contemplating the consequences.  A sin, on the other hand, is something I do knowing full well what the consequences are and not caring at that immediate moment.  Both cause regret and both should be addressed immediately but only one seems an intentional misuse of God’s gift of grace while the other seems an unintentional way to be forced to ask for someone else’s grace.

I sit back and think to myself, “The trouble is, if it’s my job to fix my mistakes, then when I sin and call it a mistake it becomes my job to take care of my sin.  So, do I really want to be held accountable for all of the sins I can’t take care of?  I think I’m pretty tied up already working on fixing all those mistakes!  It’s probably much easier to come clean, ask for God to take it and release it than to hang on to the delusion that it was ‘just a mistake’. ”

Then I hear, “Stop calling it a mistake and start asking for forgiveness and strength.”

Uh huh…noted.

Open the Door!

(c)2010 Waltzingon Photography
(c)2010 Waltzingon Photography

Before he died Jesus said that if he didn’t go away then “the advocate will not come..but if I go I will send him…” (John 16:7). Did that mean there was some sort of process that had stages to it? Like first, send a teacher (Let them understand Me better). Second, create a Savior (…for them to believe in and gain life). Third, resurrect him and bring him home again (Let’s show it can and will be done). Fourth, send the Spirit (…to prove the world to be in the wrong about sin and righteousness and judgment – John 16:8).

Sounds like a plan to me.

Then does that mean that by being here with us Jesus had to finish the steps in order for God to set up the process? Can you even imagine trying to set that up? Let’s see, I’ll send someone who is strong enough to be as perfect as man can be, as sinless, as loving, as kind, and as ready to love all my other children as I am myself…to represent me on earth. Jesus did say if you’ve seen me, you’ve seen the father so that makes sense. Then God had to think that when the relationship is formed, with disciples and believers and others taught to share what had been taught, then this man will also have to be willing to pay the price for sin (as I would’ve done myself for them) and be resurrected after death.

Doesn’t that make you humble that someone was up to that task? Doesn’t it awe you a little that someone could so accurately represent God himself?  Doesn’t it amaze you that Jesus did such a good job at this that we can still feel that love today even when he is not physically with us? We feel that love that God has for us (and was able to send through a representative) during the most interesting moments; a prayer, or an insight, or by serving each other.  Isn’t it incredible that Jesus was able to pull that off so well?

I used to resent that Christians would say that Jesus was the only way to God. I don’t want to think that I can’t just go to God directly.  I resented the thought that there’s some door between us I have to go through first. But what if Jesus isn’t the door between us and our relationship with God at all but the key to open it? What if Jesus isn’t standing in the way at all but opening up all the doors, one after the other, until we have a straight shot to God?

Now that’s amazing.

Love One Another

I find it interesting that Jesus said, “…as I have loved you, so you should love one another.” (John 13:34).  In my mind this phrase rolls around like a ball between two ping pong paddles.  Not just to love each other but to love as he loved.  I suddenly realize why this thought keeps running through my mind.  I’m thinking about how to love one person and he loved so many.

So many of us are trying to do right by our spouses.  That one person we have chosen to love.  Yet the love I feel sometimes looks nothing like the love Jesus had for all of us.  Oh, I know that’s not a new thought.  It just is quite humbling that’s all.

Like some kind of trial run it seems that God said, “Okay, I know you wouldn’t be all that great at loving everyone so how about just this one to start with?”  Then I suppose if He really wanted you to learn to love He would give your more in the form of children that need an incredible amount of patience?

I have to admit I’m not very good at it sometimes.  I’m pretty sure Jesus wouldn’t tell someone that he’s tired of picking up dirty socks and please go brush your teeth before engaging in the morning.  I’m working on that but it did give me a little jolt when I heard those words again…probably for the thousandth time in my life…just never with quite that personal meaning.

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