[#pictureLent] March 7: SIN

23 Mar 7 Sin-01.jpg

By Jess Williams
St. Mark’s UMC/ Duke Divinity School
Indialantic, FL/ Durham, NC

First, read Ephesians 2:1-3

As the church, we often neglect the subject of sin. We are uncomfortable with the concept and even reality of sin. This three-letter word makes many of us severely uncomfortable, and as modern first-world citizens we do not do uncomfortable. We go to many lengths to ensure we will not have to be uncomfortable. 

This hits at the core of one of the biggest issues for us as Christians today – sin rejection. By this I mean that we humans like to act as if sin does not exist in our lives, except in the very vague and general idea that we “sin.” Although this is a far more palatable way to deal with sin today, it robs us of the power, beauty, and grace that God has for us!

In his letter to the Ephesians, Paul reminds the church of the reality of where each and every member, including us today, come from. We were all “by nature children of wrath.” We are people who share a common heritage, a heritage we would rather sweep under the rug, or hide in our closets.

We are sinful people. We were dead in our trespasses. No matter where you are from, where you were born, who your parents were, or how “nice” you think you were – this is your, and my, heritage. 

We must come to terms with this fact. Sit with this truth today. Do not, as we so often do, simply jump to the good news when faced with our sin. Take time today to reflect on the weight of your sin. Humble yourself before God. Admit your issues. 

For in order to truly understand the weight of the grace and mercy we receive from God we must first accept the reality of our sin, individually and communally, and feel the weight of that sin. 

Prayer: God, have mercy on me, a sinner.

Discussion/Reflection Questions: 

1.Why do we so often hide and ignore the fact that we are sinful people? Why do we let shame and guilt continue to control us in this way? How is this detrimental to our Christian lives? 
2. Studies show that most of us are uncomfortable looking at ourselves in the mirror for an extended period of time unless we are doing something such as make up or grooming. Why do you think this is? When we look in the mirror is it just our physical issues that bother us, or are there deeper issues that we don’t want to face? Could admitting these “deeper issues” to God or each other actually help us become more comfortable with ourselves?
3.Challenge: Practice the discipline of confession. Find a person you trust, and confess your sin to that person (terrifying I know, but see how God meets you and provides relief for your soul). Make sure to finish with the words, “You are forgiven.”