Wednesday night at our Community Group we had a great discussion and ministry time with someone in our group. Prior to that discussion, we read an article by Paul Tripp on how easy it is to apologize — or even ask forgiveness — without stopping to consider the heart issues behind the things we do and say that hurt others.
Some people wrongly assume this kind of thinking is a sin hunt.
As Christians, we need to regularly (daily!) remind ourselves that we are forgiven and declared not guilty of every past, present and future sin because of the sinless life, substitutionary death and glorious resurrection of Jesus. What incredible news! As believers, we will never pay for our sins because He already did. If you are not yet a Christian, I pray you will become one soon because this news is just too wonderful to pass up!
Yet this staggering truth doesn’t mean we don’t have a responsibility to invest what author Jerry Bridges describes as the “personal, vigorous effort, anchored in the grace of God, that the sanctification [growing in godliness] process requires.”
This means that I can’t simply say to my husband, “I’m sorry I was mean to you. You know I’m really tired and have been struggling with a lot of stuff recently.” While I certainly appreciate his understanding, the truth is that I’m mean because I choose to be. If my friend or a client or a grandchild was in the room I wouldn’t be harsh with them. No matter how tired I was.
I have been going through a rough time recently. And I’ve been mean to my husband. But this I know: any time I am convicted of wrong or sin, it’s a gift from God. Without Him, I would go on my merry way hurting lots of people in the process — especially those I am closest to and love the most.
Don’t worry about me going on a sin hunt. Trust me, I don’t have to hunt for my sin. It’s typically right out there, unless I’m using self-control because I don’t want just anyone to see it. When God opens my eyes to see it, I’m grateful because conviction of sin is an evidence of God’s mercy and work in my life. He doesn’t just show it to me, but then helps me to identify the root in my heart that allows me to think and act and talk in ways that hurt others and dishonor Him. THEN He gives me the strength and desire to change. Wow.
If you’d like to read Mr. Tripp’s helpful and honest article, you can find it here.
Have a good weekend!