Let us face it, we Christians are not perfect. We are like everyone else and we sin just like everyone else. We do an injustice when we live in denial that we are still sinners or believe we are better than others. If anything, we should be even more conscious of our sins. We should have the courage to admit our wrongs and the strength to set things right.
It is easy to take credit for our successes, and easy to blame others for our failures. Would it be better, however, to give credit to others for our successes and blame ourselves for our failures?
There is a inherit danger in defining what characteristics of a Christian. If we define in very precise strokes, no one can be called a Christian. Likewise, if we define Christianity in overly broad strokes, even Satanists become Christians.
The past week we recounted the Passion and Resurrection of Jesus. Many of us prefer to focus on the Resurrection because: 1) it is easier to reflect on because we prefer to not to deal with pain and suffering; 2) the Resurrection if proof to us that Jesus was indeed the Messiah. It is what convince the first believers and on which all Christian faiths build their foundations.
In my recent personal reflection on the Passion, something struck me today. OK, it isn’t something new, I just revisited something I forgot.
Jesus died so that we may be freed from the spiritual punishment of sin, permanent separation form God. The reason I say spiritual punishment, we will always suffer the temporal affects of sin. If I sin against my wife, our relationship suffers because of that sin. If I am sorry and repent my sin, God forgives me. My wife may forgive me, but that damage will always be in my relationship; to what degree will always depend on the serious of the sin and how much I do to make preparations for the sin. A the some time, we need to realize that Jesus didn’t give us a blank check saying do whatever you want, I’ll will pay for it. We are too avoid sin.
However, Jesus’ death becomes more powerful if we place on the cross those things that cause us to sin. If my anger causes me to lash out in unhealthy and sinful ways, then I need to put my anger on the cross. That doesn’t mean Jesus will never let me become angry again, but if I left than anger on the cross, Jesus will help me express and deal with that anger in healthier ways.
We are challenged during Lent to give up something, but it doesn’t mean this process is to stop after Easter. Instead we are to echo Lent and Easter throughout our lives. When we encounter sin in our lives, we not only look at the sin but also its’ source. Then we bring it to Jesus who is dying and the cross and let him take not only the sin but its’ source.
If we truly let Christ take our sin and the source of the sin from us, we will experience Easter again and again.
One of the biggest mistakes we can make as Christians is assuming that because Christ died for us, we have an automatic pass into heaven. While we can never earn our way into heaven; we must live the teachings of Christ daily. Nowhere in the bible did Jesus preach, “After my death and resurrection you can do whatever you want.”
The other mistake is to believe we are not worthy of the everlasting life promised to us through Christ’s death and resurrection. While we may fail to live the teachings of Christ, God will forgive us if we seek his forgiveness. Why would the Father send his Son to die for us if not because of God’s love for us?