18 February 2014
When we encounter a sin, whether it be to do with dishonesty, anger, addiction, greed, lust or envy, a tendency is for us to label ourselves with that sin and make it an identity. But sin is not our identity when we are in Jesus. Jesus is our identity.
We may try to “correct” the sin. But sometimes what merely happens is that we temporarily control the “sin” without addressing the root problem. When we don’t cut off the root or deal with it, the sin will just find an opportune time to rear its head again. And when it does, over and over again, we become discouraged and lose hope and condemn ourselves or others.
Prayer and faith alone is not enough unless we are also opening our ears, hearts and eyes to what God is trying to say back to us or others about our or their struggles. Sometimes prayer is only a one way track and we fail to hear God speaking back and directing us, whether through other people, books or other ways – of course this requires discernment as many “voices” exist. But the Christian must be alert and discerning to hearing God’s voice on addressing root problems with sin.
I believe that God’s ways of dealing with sin are never by way of a snap of His fingers whereby sin is instantly erradicated. Rather God wants to go deep down into the root, uncovering things in childhood and broken relationships or traumatic experiences that we may have locked into our souls. So sometimes the process seems slow and results do not show immediately. But God is not necessarily concerned only with the outside appearance of things, rather i believe, He is more concerned with the patching up of wounds and mending our souls. He is therefore sometimes more interested in seeing joy and relationships with family and others restored first. He seeks our earnest confessions of weaknesses rather than our strong claims of righteousness. It is written: “I desire mercy, not sacrifice”.
I am writing this because i want to express my desire for more Christians including myself to learn how to dis-associate sin from the identity of a person. I want to value and love a person because they were created by God. The common term is “hate the sin, love the sinner.”. It’s a hard line to follow and i myself fail at this. But what has prompted me to make a devotional on this is the way homosexuality is seen in the Christian world. It is a very heavy and senstive topic, but i genuinely feel sorry if we as Christians have failed to love gays and lesbians properly – they way God loves them -with the same intensity and desire He does for heterosexual people. I am glad when i see or hear of a gay or lesbian Christian community. But i seldom see gays and heterosexuals in a “community”. I choose to express this because one of my desires is for the church as a whole to stop treating homosexual people as a special class of people in need of “extra” help, but rather focus more on loving and showing grace – to everyone. We are not here to prove or explain why there is homosexuality, nor can we or are we expected to fully understand it, rather we are asked simply to be living monuments of His grace.
When we believe in Christ, whether we are male, female, heterosexual, bi-sexual, homosexual or trans-sexual, our identity is in Jesus. We belong to Him and there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ. It is written: “I desire mercy, not sacrifice”.