In the month since I last wrote, I've transitioned to a new job, organized a weekend retreat for our church, performed at the Ritz Theater, and dug up 150 square feet of soil for my garden. So - I have a few excuses for my absence.
But during my time away, I also recalled a conversation I had, nearly 10 years ago, with a woman who was investigating Christianity but hadn't yet decided to worship Jesus. She was struggling with the idea of being a sinner because she felt like a pretty decent person, by any moral standard. I understood where she was coming from because, before I became a Christian, I really felt no need for God. Even on the very night I surrendered my life to Christ, I did it from a purely intellectual perspective.
To be honest, I didn't really have a concept of *sin* until I got married, which was a year after I started following Jesus!
These past few weeks, the Holy Spirit has given me plenty of reasons to consider my sin. He's shown me some pretty ugly stuff about myself and, believe me, I had alot of nastiness to begin with. I felt a little stunned at first, not because my junk was surprising, but more because I had deceived myself into believing that it wasn't an issue anymore. To see it spread out before me like last week's trash was disheartening (and stinky).
At the same time, I felt extremely hopeful. Which brought up the memory I mentioned above. In that conversation a decade ago, I explained to the young woman that we really only understand our sin as we get close to Christ. It's similar to learning to play an instrument. As we practice and improve our skill, we begin to feel pretty good about our 'accomplishment.' But the moment you are in the room with a master, you suddenly see how very incompetent you truly are.
So, too, with Jesus. Before I knew him, I was satisfied, arrogant, and self-assured about my abilities. When I turned my life over to him, I shifted my focus to what he had accomplished on my behalf and the benefits I received from him. But now, as I spend more time with him, I realize how far he had to come to get me and how utterly depraved I am without him. The more I know him, the more I recognize my need for him.
The most beautiful part of this, though, is that Jesus has always known how gross I am. My knowledge of him changes, but he has always and fully known me. I have no reason to despair or obsess over the yucky things that I learn about myself because Jesus isn't judging me. Instead, he's waiting, ready to transform me. He's the Master of All Perfection and he wants me to learn his secrets! Jesus loves my mess and wants to clean it up. As he said,
"Healthy people don’t need a doctor—sick people do. I have come to call not those who think they are righteous, but those who know they are sinners." (recorded in the gospel of Mark, chapter 2)
So, as I grieve over my *sickness*, I rejoice that I know the best doctor around!