Kindly Loved.

We often expect God to comment on our sin like the Pharisees in John 8 expected from Jesus.  We know He has strong feelings about sin and has called us to a standard of living we fall short of in our own strength.  We may have attempted to compromise His character by projecting feelings of disappointment, anger, or other harsh responses to our sin on Him.  There are a number of ways we misunderstand God when our view is distorted by sin. But none of these are what God intended for us.

My best understanding of sin is that it is anything and everything that God has not apportioned to us because sin is in opposition to God and we were made for God. We have agreed-upon obvious sins like murder and lust but sin is also ignoring when God asks us to encourage a friend or refusing to open up the Word when we’ve felt drawn to it for weeks.  Sin isn’t just a list of things God thinks is lame and so we hate it, too.  We abstain from sin because its everything that contributes to living less than the abundant life Jesus freely gave us.  Sin is a thief of what we deserve and what we are entitled to by the sacrifice that was made on the Cross.  It is not only negativity introduced to a Christian life but it’s only product is death when our inheritance in Christ is eternal life.

When the woman caught in adultery was publicly shamed and awaiting the consequences of her actions, Jesus first took the opportunity to draw everyone’s attention to the prevalence of sin. All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God so we don’t need to stand around pointing out specks in each other’s eyes when we have planks in our own.  We don’t need to shame people for their sin because we have sin, too.  Paul says that even our righteousness is as filthy rags because apart from God we cannot be holy.

Jesus is holy but he does not shame us in our sin because there’s no condemnation in Him.  Instead, He offers those in Christ grace that teaches us not to sin.  His extraordinary forgiveness motivates us to pursue abundant life.  When we catch a glimpse of how good He is, we chase after His goodness which by default is leading us away from sin.  2 Corinthians 3:18 says, “and we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another.”  Seeing the glory of the Lord— His goodness, His love, whatever it is that makes you want to worship Him— transforms us into His likeness.  Sin becomes less a part of us as we behold what our lives can look like in God.

The NIV of Zephaniah 3:17 says that in His love He will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing.  How empowering would it be to see God respond to us this way when we come to Him with our mess of sin? Hopefully knowing God this way will remove any fear that may exist in confessing or dealing with our sin. Our Father deeply desires for us to know that He is not condemning us.  He doesn’t want shame for us anymore than He wants a life of sin for us.  He’s rejoicing over us in song. That’s a dramatic expression of feelings that’s meant to remind us of His love.  I remind myself of this through a song I learned years ago when I start to feel condemnation. It says:

You really are kind, God. You really do love us and I’ve cheated Your heart when I think from the start that You don’t love me in weakness. I really do make you happy.

As you go through seasons of intentionally addressing the sin in your heart, or even having it exposed in you like it happened in John 8, be mindful of who you are accountable to.  God is Judge and through Christ you are not condemned, so don’t let shame lead you further away from God.  Let God’s loving-kindness draw you in.  The Lord is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love. Now go and sin no more because you are loved by the One who overcame.

Author | Savannah Ugan

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