I looked sin in the eye this past week. It sent shudders up my spine and my heart was broken as I saw tears fall from my friend’s face. Her eyes looked devastated and remorseful – almost vacant. In that moment, I was reminded that sin is such a liar.
Sin entices us with promises it never intends to fulfill:
Life will be better.
It will help me cope.
It won’t be a big deal.
It’s my life – I’m only hurting myself.
Everyone else is doing it.
Once the sin is uncovered and brought into the light, it is threatened. It wants to hide again. It wants to put a tighter hold on us. It wants to convince us that our wrong choices are our identity. It wants to strip us of our dignity and make us ashamed. It tells us life will never get better, there is no hope. Quite different than the promises it made in the beginning, isn’t it?
Light must be shined on sin in order for us to come to this important crossroad: the crossroad of life or death. Will we take the road that leads to life or the road that leads to death? We have a choice. Will we turn away from the sin and confess it? Will we receive forgiveness and move forward? Or will we believe the lie that we are without hope, unable to change and that forgiveness isn’t possible - our sin defines who we are now?
When I looked in the eyes of my dear friend, I saw that sin was desperate to strangle the life out of her. It reminded me of where I’ve come from. I’ve been to that crossroads before and I’m sure I will visit it again. All of us sin and fall short of the standard that God has set for us, but none of us have to allow that to define us. We have hope and we can break free!
The first step in taking the road that leads to life is admitting that we messed up – well, let’s call it what it is – we sinned. Once we admit it, the light is exposing it. I think that just as plants grow in the sunlight, sin grows and entangles us in the darkness. Once the darkness is exposed to the light, it begins to lose its grip on us. Once we begin taking the road to life, we can learn from our past choices and grow. God redeems our past and it loses its grip on us.
If there is a person we hurt as a result of our sin, and that person is not willing to forgive, we must not allow that to keep us from accepting Christ’s forgiveness. In Psalm 51, King David wrote about his sin of adultery and murder and said, “I have sinned against You, and only You, God.” Truly, if God forgives us, we are forgiven. If we have asked another person to forgive us and genuinely turned from the sin, it is no more we can do to convince them to forgive us. Sometimes people just need time to deal with it and hear from God. Trust must be earned back and this takes time, too. Other times, they are so hurt that forgiveness may seem impossible. That is between them and God.
The road that leads to death is always the most tempting road. It is the road that wants to blame others, it wants to downplay our sin and it wants to keep it hidden as much as possible. It wants to give us a new identity - a sinful one - and it wants to try to convince us that we will never change. I want to encourage you to steer clear of this well-traveled road. The enemy of our souls paved this road with lies and empty promises. This is the road that leads you right into his plan to steal your confidence, kill your dreams and destroy your life. This road is the coward’s road.
If you are struggling with a specific sin that is making you miserable, I want to encourage you to come clean. Don’t allow this sin to grow in your heart and mind for one more moment!
Proverbs 28:13 says, “People who conceal their sin will not prosper; but if they confess and turn from them, they will find mercy.” Your sin will not relent – it will continue to devour you until you are destroyed and miserable. It is a liar and it will never live up to the empty promises it made at first. But Christ offers forgiveness and mercy – and a chance to learn and grow from this situation and move forward in a new life!
Jesus spoke to the people once more and said, “I am the light of the world. If you follow me, you won’t have to walk in darkness, because you will have the light that leads to life.” –John 8:12