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Tag Archives: confession

You Are Capable (of great sin)

There but for the grace of God go I. (John Bradford)

The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it? (Jeremiah 17:9)

I am more than capable. So is everyone. If you deny it you need to repent for lying to yourself and everyone else. (Barnabas Piper)

This is good:

Shelve Your Shock.

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Posted by on April 11, 2014 in God's Word, Grace, Sin, The Church

 

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Who Am I to Judge?

How many times have you heard someone misquote scriptures, admonishing us not to judge? Usually these folks also misquote scriptures about loving one another. In their theology we are neither to hold each other accountable nor point out any shortcoming or behaviors that would hinder either the person or the church. We’re just to “love” — whatever that kind of “love” means.

I think one of the reasons the American Church is weak and ineffective is because we have bought into the secular worldview of “tolerance” to the point that commands to encourage one another in the faith are about as watered down as the trite, “I’ll lift you up in prayer” and the wimpy, “Hang in there.” So when a sister in the faith is caught up in sin, or a brother’s actions clearly do not honor or bring glory to God, we look the other way. And those new to the faith or just considering Christ see this and think, “Why should I ‘get saved’? I’m as good or better than they are!” If you can’t tell the difference between the people in the pews and the brothers in the bars, what’s the point of church?

The title “Christian” means “little Christs.” We are to strive to be like Jesus. We are “the called out ones.” We are “set apart.” We are strongly admonished not to love the world or the things in the world. We are God’s family. We are the “bride of Christ.” Now if I dress like a hooker, drink like a fish, swear like a longshoreman, or stab my friends in the backs, you have every right (as my Christian brother or sister) to take me aside and lovingly point out to me my shortcomings (and if I was behaving like that you might also question whether I was following Christ!). I have told my friends that I expect them to show me my blind spots. I think if they don’t, they must not love me very much. Hebrews 3 tells us, “But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called ‘today,’ that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.”

In order to point out someone else’s mistake you must make a judgment about it. How else can you know? You see the behavior, you compare it to what God’s word says, you make a judgement as to whether it lines up or not, and act or speak accordingly. If you use my bathroom and find porn under the sink, it’s not a stretch to discern a problem. Discernment is sound judgement. Then you need to speak the truth in love. (This is extends to discerning bad from good, from better, from best doctrine as well, but that’s another post for another time…)

In 1 Corinthians 2:14 we read that the spiritual person is to judge all things. We have the mind of Christ. This does NOT mean we make a value judgement on our brother or sister. We do not make a judgment on the “severity” of the sin. We do not judge the heart or the motives. Leave that to the only One who can. Who is to say one sin is worse than another? And why do we presume to classify certain temptations as worse than others? Why do we shun the gay guy but come along side the man struggling with a porn addiction?

In 1 Corinthians 5 we see that church strongly chastised for not grieving over sin practiced by someone in the their midst and were called to remove that person from their fellowship. And of course we all know Matthew 18 where Jesus tell us to show our brother his fault privately. If he doesn’t repent, take a couple of others, and so on. We also know Jesus told us we need to take the ‘log’ out of our own eye before we can help a brother with the ‘speck’ in his. How often do we do this? And how often do we avert our eyes, embarrassed and sad and grieved but unresponsive?

I think another reason for missing the boat in this area is our lack of authentic Christian community. I Corinthians 12 tells us that “The eye cannot say to the hand, ‘I have no need of you,’ nor again the head to the feet, ‘I have no need of you.’ On the contrary, the parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, and on those parts of the body that we think less honorable we bestow the greater honor, and our unpresentable parts are treated with greater modesty, which our more presentable parts do not require. But God has so composed the body, giving greater honor to the part that lacked it, that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another. If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together. Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it.” We are called to bear one another’s burdens and often than burden is unrelenting temptation as in the case of those recovering from addictions or struggling with homosexuality. Doing life together is often messy. We don’t want to get messy with others. So we leave them to struggle alone, we look the other way, we don’t follow Christ’s commands.

We are one body. We are to suffer together, we are to rejoice together. We are to encourage one another and hold one another accountable. We can do none of this if we don’t know each other. Strong and deep community breeds honest relationships; brothers and sisters with log-less eyes helping each other with specks. Outside a few vibrant small groups, I think this is largely missing in the church today. Let’s prayerfully consider how we might cultivate an authentic, vibrant, discerning, sin-confessing, healing community of believers. I’d like that very much.

 
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Posted by on December 25, 2011 in God's Word, Obedience, Relationships, Sin, The Church

 

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The Guts and the Grace

Well, it seems there is a great convergence going on. You know: when multiple things come together and form one powerful thing.

It’s like when you experience something; there is a tug at your heart. You start to ask God about it. Then you read something in a devotional, then an article, then read something similar in another book; you take notice, it’s growing. Then you hear a sermon on Sunday, and have a conversation with a friend on Monday; it’s coming together. Two or three blogs you subscribe to seem to be discussing variations of the same theme, then your sister calls you and says the speaker at the conference she’s at is teaching on the subject. You turn to the next chapter in your Bible the next morning, and God’s talking about it, too. It’s becoming clear. Do you think He is speaking? 🙂

My friend and worship pastor likens this phenomenon to tributaries in the rainy season all rushing in to form one big, brown, raging Class V river. Convergence.

This has been happening to me, and yes, the topic is still “Sin.” Why do people not even like to say the word? In reality it’s an archery term that means “missing the mark.” I don’t have any trouble at all telling people I missed the mark. I messed up. Why then do we have a problem saying, “I’ve sinned”??  Maybe a dose of reality would help:

In my last post I quoted from James 5 where we are told to confess our sins to one another and pray for each other so that we may be healed. “The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.” I didn’t read on farther that day, but I did today. The last verse in that chapter reads, “If anyone among you wanders from the truth and someone brings him back, let him know that whoever brings back a sinner from his wandering will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins.”

Wow. That’s pretty powerful. Sin is not only something we should watch out for in our own lives, it is something we should watch out for in the lives of our sisters (and brothers) because it could cost them their lives. I have friends who were “brought back.” This means their friends went after them when they were messing up. Had the guts to do it. Loved ’em enough to do it. I hear those stories and cry. As a “prodigal daughter” three times over, I don’t recall being pursued like that. I don’t remember anyone trying to rescue me. Though perhaps people tried and I was just too stubborn, willful, self-centered, and rebellious to hear. But I do know that there were times when not only was I not pursued, I was shunned. And I wonder how many times I turned an ignorant or a blind eye to my sisters who needed me to have the guts and grace to come after them…

YET — look at the blessing the rescuer gets according to this verse! Having been the drowning, I would like now to be the rescuer. Do we have the wisdom and desire to see and remove the log in our own eye? Do we have the guts and the grace to help a sister out with the speck in hers?

My prayer is for this “convergence” to become one mighty, raging, unstoppable river — sweeping in believers in to its swift current and causing a cleansing, a renewal, a keen and quick understanding of sin, of confession, of repentance, of redemption and of so much love for one another that we cannot bear to see a sister washed ashore and left behind. THIS should be what the church is all about.

 
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Posted by on November 9, 2011 in Grace, Sin, The Church

 

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Sin? What Sin?

In the American church there is a practice commanded of us that people rarely obey. We are to confess our sins to one another so that we may be healed. I think there are many who walk around dealing with physical and spiritual illnesses unnecessarily simply because we refuse to acknowledge, let alone confess, our sins.

This morning I read John Fischer’s blog, The Catch, in which he discusses this. He concludes, “It is far worse, and does greater damage to others and the truth to hide your sin than to bring it out into the open.” Here is a link to the full post:

Claim and Shame

I believe real healing will come to believers who start to sincerely confess their sins to one another, and that revival would break out in any church that started acting like one, especially in this area. And if many churches started acting like they were part of The Church, there were most certainly be a sea change in our Western culture. I would seriously like to be part of that.

Would you?

 
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Posted by on November 7, 2011 in God's Word, Sin, The Church, The Heart

 

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