As American Christians we have a very high view of ourselves. I remember being on a summer mission trip and participating in a learning exercise that was created to open our eyes to the need of missionaries to the world. The Americans were designed to be the heroes and the other parts of the world world were displayed as being less than in Christian faith.
That is illustrative of our individual hearts too, I think. Many of us believe that we really have our stuff together.
Yet, that’s not reality.
I am imperfect. I can tell you a myriad of sin in my life. Here’s an example, from just a few hours ago. As I was leaving the “drop off circle” at my daughter’s school I got angry with another parent who was impatient and almost caused an accident. My thoughts were ugly and I’m embarrassed by what went through my mind. This moment, was not brought about by a person who was in a rush to get somewhere, maybe work, who knows, but by my sinful self that came out in force.
Part of the American ethos, and the Christian American ethos in particular, is to think we are above others. We don’t see our sinfulness much at all. Our own hypocrisies are largely ignored. When it comes to our less than Jesus-like attitudes and behaviors we ignore them or excuse them. Yet, when it comes to those we disagree with, are afraid of, or don’t like, we point to every failing no matter how small.
This is, in a nutshell, what pride is all about. Pride is having an incorrect view of ourselves. Pride causes us to hide in the dark and avoid the light because if we come into the light then we will be exposed for who we really are.
John wrote about this in his first letter, check this out…
This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us. (1 John 1:5-10, ESV)
Walking in the light means that we are aware of our brokenness. We can’t fake our life. There’s no room for us to be two-faced. If we think we have it all together, then we are deceiving ourselves. The reality is that we do sin. We do fall short. I am not OK, you are not OK, we need to own that fact.
We can own it with confidence if we are willing to admit to it. “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse from all unrighteousness.” How beautiful is that? When it comes to God, what matters most is honesty. We can confidently know that if we are honest with him about our sin then he will forgive us and he will cleanse us.
It is who God who is. He will not withhold grace, he will not withhold mercy, he will not withhold reconciliation from one who says, “Have mercy on me for I am a sinner.”
Why? Because is God is light and in him there is no darkness.
This is, who he is.
Who are you?