Startling sin

Sin can startle us into looking at who we really are.  We ask ourselves, Did I really say that?  Did I really do that?  Did I really think that? 

–From Pastor John’s sermon.

Sin can startle us into looking for a Savior.

Only when we know we are wretched do we look for a way out of the mess we’ve made.

As my pastor said on Sunday, the things we never thought we’d say . . the things we never thought we’d do . . the ways we’d never thought we’d think . . can give us a reality check of who we really are.

I think in an analogy from Lord of the Rings.  There are these orcs–ugly, twisted, horrible, cannibalistic creatures who were once elves.  Now it doesn’t do any good to pretend they are still elves.  They aren’t.  They are totally fallen, irredeemable in themselves (they can’t change who they are in essence).  Whatever bad thing it is, they would say that, would do that, would think that.

Of course, in Lord of the Rings, there were never any orcs who turned back to the good side.  But I thought it would be really cool if there were.  If a mighty wizard could change them back into the elves they once were, long ago.

Actually, those orcs are better off than we humans are, in this sense: We are often outrageously out-of-touch with how sinful we are.  We are connoisseurs at covering up what we do.  We are brilliant at denial.  We are justifiers to the max.

We will try to make anything, no matter how atrocious, seem acceptable if we were the ones who did it.  (If somebody else did it, Heaven help them.  But if it was us, well, we had our reasons.)

But often it’s in the really awful things in our lives . . the times we know we have fallen badly and can’t get up . . the times we see how twisted and gruesome we really are . . that we get a glimpse of how we look in the sight of God.

In and of itself, that is one of the most dangerous states of depression around.  But if we look to Christ, then it is really just like the molting state of the caterpillar.

Sin can startle us into covering up what we did, denying what we did, or justifying what we did.

Or, we can look at our sin straight in the face, and find an urgent need to find the Savior.

He is able to change us into new creatures.

Whoever is a believer in Christ is a new creation. The old way of living has disappeared. A new way of living has come into existence. (2 Corinthians 5:17, GW)

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