The apostle Paul rightly states in his epistle to the Romans that we have all sinned. “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23, NIV). Let me translate the word sin into a more easily understood phrase. Sin is another word for “missing the mark” or missing God’s purpose in our life. We have all done missed the mark for our lives from childhood rebelling like Adam against our parents. What I am wishing to speak to my fellow believers and to exhort you in the good works of God is to stop looking for sin; that is stop looking for sin in people around you. Many in churches around America tell us to “come as you are” “we won’t hold anything against you” Yet when you light up that cigarette in the parking lot after service, or another church goer sees you at the bar in a local restaurant or God forbid you take cannabis for medicinal purposes (or recreational) etc. The list goes on and on of grey areas in which the church wishes to impose rules upon the body. Defining sin in a person’s life is harder than we may think. The Ten Commandments gives us a good base, yet underneath that we have etched hundreds of sub sins which we think are correct. Yes as the Lord says we should “go and sin no more.” Yet one man’s sin is not another’s, or in other words we each possess a different life path giving each one of us different types of missing the mark, or the desire God has for our lives. In the paradox of free will and Gods will, we must move forward and with faith live out our lives believing we are living how God desires us to live. Yes I used the word faith, the evidence of what is not seen, like Abraham leaving his home town into the unknown so we walk on the path of Christ. As the writer of the book of Hebrews states “it is impossible to please God without faith.” Maybe we of the church of Christ should start to look for faith, to strengthen one another in what truly pleases God, rather than what we cannot change our sins are covered and we are made holy through our faith in Jesus Christ. If we get real people lie, cheat, steel, fornicate, get drunk, and fill all kinds of fleshly desires. I say this not to promote the works of the flesh which only lead to destruction but to understand that is the human condition, not to live in denial of our nature but to understand it. Maybe through our understanding we can start living a better life. Remember it is our faith that allows us to live above this human condition and take on the likeness of Christ as we grow in Christian maturity.
Some say the hardest thing that we will go through in our existence is being human. These words I find true. Jesus will probably tell you the same thing when we meet him, he left the heavenly realms came to earth to be placed in this fleshy entrapment which we call the human body. As hard as life is we should not try to make it harder on our fellow brothers and sisters by pointing out the faults of others or gossiping behind their backs. Yes we all do it, it is in our human nature but as Christians we are called to love and through the power of the Spirit we possess the ability to love, and we can point out the love that is found in the image of God found in every human on the planet. God is not surprised by our sin, he knows it will happen, what he may be surprised about is our faith, it is what pleases God. Our faith covers us and blinds God’s eyes of our sin. We are born with a nature to sin, but to live by faith is a choice. Let us stop looking for sin in people and the world and start looking for faith. Jesus stated in a parable “when the Son of man returns will he find faith on the earth?” (Luke 18:8, NIV) Often when we look for sin in others we may just be masking our own deficiencies, our own sin, our own missing the mark for God’s will in our life! As psychologist may call it, overcompensating our own self-righteousness for our own lack of self-worth. Through faith in Christ we should find ourselves complete and holy, lacking in nothing, in union with God.
So what good does it do when we point the finger at those who we think are sinners? What it does is undermine us as the church. It tarnishes who we represent, it creates the hypocritical image the world has of Christians. In fact we are all hypocrites and many of us are trying so hard to work their way into heaven they do not even realize it. Jesus said to follow Him, does that mean that we are to strive to be sinless? Life would be easier if we could, yet the struggle of living a sinless life will only lead to depression, create a difficult relationship with a holy God. Maybe, just maybe Jesus was referring to our faith. The faith that has already been given to us, the faith that creates our oneness with God, we just have to wake up and realize it. How much more peace of mind would one have, how much fear would be erased once we come to a point in our lives that we are in God, and God is in us, without having to earn it! I will finish by saying that we cannot get anymore of God, or any less through faith we already have it all. It is impossible to be sinless like Jesus in this fleshly suit which we wear, but we can possess His faith, we can do our best to live out a moral and ethical life without self judgement, we can evangelize the world by being Jesus through faith to our neighbors without pointing out their sin. We can be the light of the world not the accuser of the brethren who is also called Satan (Revelation 12:7-12). So let us not accuse, let us point our fingers towards Jesus, towards love and kindness and through faith in Christ we may just change the world.