The Pastor then asked them, somewhat in awe, “You do not commit sin?” Their response, which made sense and how many truly think ... but they had the nerve to speak it ... was, “Not the big sins like murder, stealing, committing adultery, etc.” The congregation all relaxed and a sort of, “Thank God response” fell over the room. We felt comforted to know that they truly did not think they were sinless as much as they felt they were not guilty of the ‘big’ sins.
The big sins! What are the big sins and how do you place them in order?
I think sometimes we base the greatness of a sin on whether we have actually committed the sin or not. Let’s see ... I have never ... I have to really think about this. Let’s go over the 10 commandments one by one. As I am doing this, ponder which of these sins you have committed. I am stating them but not in a particular order as I purposely changed the order.
#1 I am the Lord thy God and thy shall have no other gods before me. I am guilty of this. I have not always been a Christian .... even as a Christian I have put things before God. This is so easy to do ... food, exercise, television, relationships, cars, etc.
#2 You shall not make for yourself a carved image. The first and second commandments go hand in hand, both emphasizing the need to give our worship exclusively to the one true God.
Again, I have not always done this. I worshipped anything but God prior to knowing Him. I am certainly guilty of this one.
#3 You shall not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain. Wow, this one makes me ashamed! I do not like to think of the many times I have done exactly this. Now whenever I hear someone use the Lord’s name in vain, it pierces my very heart. I despise it!
#4 Remember the Sabbath day. Everyone has a different interpretation of what the Sabbath stands for. It is a day of rest, and for me ‘rest’ means spending time in His presence. Giving Him this day to honor and glorify Him. I have not always done this. Today it is a priority in my life, but it did not just come on its own. I had to begin my life with Him as one of His before this became significant to me. Even then, I tried to reason it out that I could worship God from home. Attending church was not necessarily something I needed to do. Church was not reliable … too many hypocrites, too much to question. I have learned this is not how God feels. We are called to fellowship with like-minded Christians. There are many scriptures supporting this doctrine, especially Hebrews 10:25.
#5 Honor your Father and your Mother. I wish I could say I was the perfect child who always brought joy to my parent’s heart, but I cannot. I was disrespectful more times than I care to remember.
#6 You shall not commit adultery. This is another one that I would love to say I am not guilty of, but I cannot. I can reason it out … I can justify it … I can make excuses for why it happened. It does not matter as I committed adultery and I can blame no one but me. Whether you are in an abusive relationship … whether your spouse is verbally abusive … whether your spouse is, in fact, having their own affair, it does not justify you committing adultery.
#7 You shall not steal. This is probably one of the most distorted commandments there is. We do not like to think of ourselves as a thief. After all, we never broke into someone’s home. We never robbed a store. But, we may have taken something little once … a very long time ago … nothing significant. Bottom line is if you have ever taken something which was not yours, no matter the value or from whom, then you were a thief. No getting around it.
#8 You shall not bear false witness. This one can be a bit tricky. We like to think of this as “I have never lied on someone which caused them to go to jail or anything”. Not all it entails. If you have ever pointed the finger at someone … or even insinuated that they did something to save your own butt, then you are guilty. Remember as a child laying the blame on another sibling or a friend so you did not take the rap! Yep, you bore false witness.
#9 You shall not covet. I wish I never desired things that others had.
#10 You shall not commit murder. Ok, this has to be the worse sin because I have never committed it. Not! I have never taken another’s life, but have you ever desired someone to be dead. The virtual act is not the only way to commit this sin. Our heart, unfortunately, causes us to sin more times than we care to recognize.
So again I ask, “Do you hide your sin” and if so, “where?” Do you learn from it? Do you sin because of past sins already committed it? Do you use your sin as a testimony to help others not make the same mistake? Do you expose it with humility?
Me, personally, it depends. I try to hide it from myself more than I do anyone. Having to face my sin at times is more than I can bear. Then, at other times I am quick to confess before God because the weight of carrying the sin is too much. No matter what I do or how quickly I do it, the end result is always the same ... I finally humble myself and confess it before God; then, if He instructs me, I use it to bless others.
Why does it take me so long at times to confess when I know that God knew my sin ... He was there when I sinned ... He knew I was going to sin before I did. I say at times I hid it but nothing is ever hidden from the eyes of God. When you really think about this, it is pretty scary.
King David ... one of the greatest kings in Israel’s history ... sinned by his affair with Bathesba and his ultimate betrayal and murder of Uriah, Bathesba’s husband. I do not know how long he tormented over this or tried to keep it hidden, but once he confessed it, he went on to be described as a king after God’s own heart.
God can use you despite your sin ... despite your past ... despite what others think of you or say about you. Don’t allow the opinions of others prevent you from coming to God with a repentant heart.
You say, “But you just don’t know what I have done.” You are right and I do not need to know but God already knows. Tell me this, who determines where you spend eternity ... your next door neighbor … your best friend ... those you sinned against? Only one controls your final destiny and that is our Heavenly Father. He is the only one you ever have to worry about pleasing.
Today confess your sin, release it, and be set free because if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. (John 8:36)