shadow of sinOur recent Lent reflections has provoked a recurring theme. Via blog comments, FB, email or in person, is a repeated question I would boil it down to this.    “Why should we focus on sin? Once we are made new, washed by the blood of Christ, forgiven – shouldn’t that be our focus?”

Yes.

And…

The wonder of Easter washes over our soul when we realized the depth of our need and the incredible Grace of God.  Without understanding the weight of our sinfulness, I think the cross and the all sufficient work of Jesus loses a bit of its’ weightiness.

Yes, I believe we should embrace our redemption and live fully into the Grace and freedom we have in Christ.

And…

I think we need to pause and reflect on our utter helplessness to make ourselves righteous and our propensity to rebel, to sin, against the One Who Loves us.

Talking about sin is uncomfortable.  Personally, I would like to avoid it altogether.  Yet our sinfulness is the focus of  our She Reads Truth Lent 2015 devotional this week and for the next 10 days as we read through Lamentations.

Sin is not a popular subject and makes the list for what not to talk about.  We don’t want to admit our need for Christ, let alone the ugliness we know lives inside us – even as God is changing and growing us. It easier and loads more comfortable to talk about being forgiven.  But our forgiveness becomes the most precious of gifts when we pause and think about what it cost.

Think for a moment about something of value in home… a favorite and expensive pair of shoes, a piece of pricey jewelry, a sculpture or piece of art you splurged on.

Don’t we take extra care of these valuable things?

When our daughter Emily went on a year long mission trip, she gave away most of her belongings and stored just a few of her favorite things with friends and family,  including a box of shoes, including a pair of valuable and sentimental boots from Paris. This box  was apparently stored in our garage.

Arriving home, Emily began to collect her things and strangely this box was nowhere to be found. She was frustrated and perplexed, as the weather turned cold and her Toms weren’t keeping her feet warm or dry.   Emily was adamant she put said box in our garage,  and wondered if I have donate it in one of our garage purges.

Just for context, imagine a garage crammed with the remains of our move to downsize, after 30 years of marriage, stacked and packed to the gills. I assured her I would never give her boots away. After multiple searches in our garage, I was vehement about her having stored it somewhere else.

The only pair of winter shoes she had were her Uggs, stored with her winter coat.  The Uggs were a splurge, as she is thrifty and practical in general, and she bought them as a college student. Emily was careful not to wear them in the rain or snow, so they don’t get ruined, and not only last but look good for a long time.

I chided her about this one day, as she came home, after a day of teaching, with wet, cold feet.   I mean, isn’t the whole point of Uggs is to keep your feet warm and dry on cold, rainy, snowy days!?

Emily stuck to her guns and refused to wear her Uggs if there was a chance they would get ruined.  They were special and their value had increased with the loss of her other boots.  Her feet stayed cold in the rain or snow;  I remained frustrated.  I didn’t understand her choice to sacrifice comfort and push common sense aside.

Value.  We handle things of value differently; more appreciative, careful and attentive to enjoy and maintain their worth.  We understand their cost.

During the season of Lent we pause to focus on our need for the cross, by examining our sinfulness.  Standing exposed, sinful, utterly helpless to bear the burden or pay the cost of redemption, we understand the immeasurable value of Jesus death and resurrection,

Relief, provision, payment, restoration- unmerited and unable to be earned- the cross stands in stark contrast to our sin.  Like a neon sign, on a dark twisted road, light diminishes the darkness and offers hope.

This is why we pause and reflect on our sinfulness.  Not to live in despair,  but to remind us of the darkness within and our utter need for Jesus.

In the shadow of our sin stands the Old Rugged Cross…

Can you relate? How does pausing to ponder the reality and weight of your sin increase your ability to  more clearly see and embrace the immeasurable value of the Cross of Christ?

2 Responses to “Why should we focus on sin?”

  1. Linda

    I had to chuckle at the story of Emily’s boots. My sister tells me we were part of the working poor growing up. I knew there was a huge list of things we ‘couldn’t afford’ but I never thought of us being poor. As I grew older I came to understand that my parents made choices and I could make different choices to redefine ‘affordability.’ We moved regularly and many of our things didn’t survive the moves, so if something was important, we had to guard it almost jealously. Did we believe we could never replace it? Probably so, since we had such a scarcity mentality. Heaven knows I am grateful I was taught to be thrifty and careful because my first years on my own were a financial challenge.
    All of this to set the stage for the set of blue glasses given to us by a friend for our wedding. Gorgeous West Virginia blue glass in a pattern and color that was discontinued shortly thereafter. Those blue glasses were so beautiful and so special. The kids dreaded the Sunday dinners when the blue glasses were put on the table. They were so afraid of breaking one–that couldn’t be replaced–that I think they even avoided drinking from them. One day I realized that we were short one round blue glass. That was over 30 years ago and to this date, no one has admitted to breaking it. I was distressed. But, I still had 15 blue glasses and a matching pitcher. Now I use these glasses, and my other silver, crystal and china routinely. If a piece is lost, I know there is enough and am grateful for the beauty of the piece. That I can hold in memory, if not in my hand. I’ve lost enough to value what I have, not lament over what has been lost.
    Most of us probably hold the picture of standing at the gates to heaven, hoping we would be found worthy enough to enter. Somewhere along the line we can see ourselves in front of Jesus and facing the book of our lives. A video of what we did or didn’t do while here on earth. That image–of standing before Jesus and facing the truth of all of our actions– lives in vivid color, like the beautiful blue glasses I have cherished for 43 years.
    Recognizing our sinfulness as a betrayal of our promise to love our God and follow his commandments is curative. Dwelling on them, once recognized and lifted up to God for forgiveness, reminds me of Jesus’s exhortations to fast in quiet, to pray quietly and to avoid being a clanging bell.

    Reply
    • Susie Miller

      Your words brings tears to my eyes and warms my heart. these words: Recognizing our sinfulness as a betrayal of our promise to love our God and follow his commandments is curative. are poetic and beautiful and the whole point of talking about our sin. I love the blue glass story. I was the one who broke things growing up, flying hands, exuberant movements often collided with breakables 🙁 My mom was gracious and so I think it helped me be when my kids did the same. (Super glue is a staple around here!)

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