The recent raid on the Capitol: sin isn’t just with the other guy
As a centrist who is a leader of both conversatives and liberals, the message to share at this time in our nation’s history is that each of us, left, right and center, sins. Rather than become or remain divisive, we, dear Americans, should understand the power and the persuasion of the sinfulness in our own selves first and foremost. When we embrace that we, like sheep, have gone astray (Isaiah 53:6), then far less stones are hurled toward the glass houses we all live in a bit too comfortably. I am not quelling righteous anger these days. Most of us have heard a lot of it over the past few years, and yes, even Jesus had righteous anger (Mark 3:1-5). However, all of us can put down the rocks we have thrown (or want to throw) because each of us, deep in the shadows of our very selves, knows this rarely spoken truth: on the wrong day at the wrong time, we can confess how awful—how truly sinful—we can be.
Now, speaking of throwing, I understand the daggers hurled from the left. I understand the daggers hurled from the right. I mean daggers. Really. Sharp. Daggers.
I appreciate the passion from both sides. I hope you can, too. It is time, however, for a unity and a conformity to take place when we understand the sinfulness within each of us. When we understand that sin is our common denominator; it is the very thing within each of us; then rather than first stab it in someone else, we should recognize its power and place and move not in judgement but with understanding and then forgiveness.
The unique situation in this house is that suddenly six people are under one roof where, just 13 months ago, there was only one of us—me—living here. One of the unique situations that has come about in becoming a foster parent to five very young children is that all of us sees the sinfulness within each of us. Here I include the two-year-old as well as his older siblings. We are all so far from perfect. A lot of hard words or actions have happened since we have come to be a family under one roof. That’s a truth that can’t be ignored. But there’s a greater truth behind it. Our Lord and Savior died on a cross so that all of the rotten, terrible, nasty things we do—ALL of us do, not left, not right, all of us do—are forgiven.
I understand many of us are demanding justice should come to those involved in the rage upon the Capitol Building last Wednesday, January 6th. “This crime against democracy cannot be tolerated,” the argument goes. “Wrongdoers must pay for this!”
I am not stepping into any lawful actions that may come in the future. This is not my location or vocation. From my position as a pastor however, I can speak to a different law, the Mosaic Law (or the Law of Moses). Jesus didn’t come to free us from this Law; he came to free us from sin. He didn’t need to free us from the Law because the Law never enslaved us. Sin does. Our freedom in Christ is our freedom from sin.
We cannot escape sin (Romans 3:23). All of us can, however, keep turning to our Savior. Those who believe in the only one who upheld the law perfectly are born again into new life—his life. The righteousness of Christ lives in those who choose this life moment by moment, and, as this happens, the Holy Spirit lives in our hearts. This indwelling of the Holy Spirit is the New Covenant which is written on our hearts, not two tablets of stone.
When we who are left, right and center understand that our sins are perpetually forgiven when we confess, then God does something amazing. He softens our souls, enlarges our hearts, and sets hope right before us for a better today and brighter tomorrow.
Let’s recognize our collective sins. Let’s also recognize our individual sins, and with humility and grace, vision and love, step forward into a brighter tomorrow which can be seen in Isaiah 65:17a. The third prophet writing under the name of Isaiah sees the potential of new heavens and a new earth.
Let’s see this potential, too. With the God who sets us free, let’s make something new, something good, happen. And amen.