The Horror of Sin
With the recent exposure of sexual abuse in the Southern Baptist Convention and the Roman Catholic Church, the Church is horrified, sickened, angered, saddened, and betrayed by the rampant and seemingly acceptable sin. Men (and women) who proclaimed Christ’s saving grace in their lives, taught the obedience of faith, and worshiped with us led this secret life of abusing fellow image bearers of God. Victims whose lives and faiths were destroyed by being ignored, marginalized, or forced to carry the responsibility of the sins of these criminals. It’s right that we are horrified by these works of evil. Recently, I was shocked by my own work of evil. . . literally, shocked.
I am on a board of directors for a program that reaches out to the community. We communicate pretty regularly through email as it is the easiest way to keep one another up to date. In a recent email sent from a sister in the Lord, I responded quickly with a concern with a certain principles of Scriptures in mind. I had no ill-intent or animosity. In fact, I didn’t think that any part of my response had any offensive wording or tone. I was wrong.
Her reply was terse, cold, and offended. I offended my sister. How? What I thought was innocent, she read as an attack on her character, her integrity. The words that I sent to her were received as arrows to the core of who she is. As soon as I realized the little thought I didn’t put into my reply, I soon started typing an apology. This was not where I was shocked by my own sin.
I began with “I apologize…” following up with commendation for her wisdom, her integrity, and her diligence. I soon started typing “but…” and going into an explanation of where I was coming from and why I am right. This lasted about 10 minutes and I had a full blown response picking apart every little phrase of the previous emails. I realized that with “but” I invalidated my apology. So I used “however.” It didn’t make it any better. This was the shock: my pride would not allow me to apologize. The immediate problem before me was that I had inadvertently offended my sister. The issue wasn’t whether I was right or wrong, whether I was Scriptural or not in the previous email, but that I wasn’t Scriptural in bringing reconciliation.
I see no where in the Bible where reconciliation is brushed off and denied. Jesus - the creator and sustainer of creation - humbled Himself, came down to earth, putting on flesh, died on the cross, and was resurrected from the grave in order to bring reconciliation between the God the Father and sinners who bring enmity to Him. Colossians even speaks of reconciling all things in Him (Christ) whether in heaven or on earth. So how can I not seek reconciliation in the midst of this offense?
Pride. My pride sought to defend myself, not to apologize. My pride didn’t care about the offense, but it cared about proving myself right. My pride would not allow me to humble myself and seek reconciliation. This shocked me to the point where I shut my computer off, walked away for a couple hours, and sought repentance. Then, by God’s grace, was I able to apologize and seek reconciliation.
I fear that we too easily work in an unbalanced, unbiblical way when we deal with relationships with one another. We are too inclined to cling tightly to our own defense than we are too seek the work of reconciliation. It’s certainly a lot easier to look at the horrors others commit and be disgusted by it, instead of examining ourselves for the horrors we commit against the blood of Christ. While it wasn’t comfortable to see my sin so clearly, I love that the Holy Spirit would convict me of my sin, lead me to repentance, and grant the grace to proceed with reconciliation.