We’re studying Jerry Bridges book Respectable Sins in our Wednesday night class at church.
Mr. Bridge’s is NOT saying that there are any sins that are respectable. What he does say is that there are sins that we SEE as respectable in a sense.
Sins like gossip.
What “good” Christian woman doesn’t want to share a prayer request for an ailing friend?
Those sins that are more acceptable; not the “big” sins.
Respectable, in the sense that sometimes we don’t even recognize our sin as sin.
Mr. Bridges mentions several ways to deal with these “respectable” sins.
I would like to focus on one specific way he mentions:
“Involve one or a few other believers with you”
In other words – “bear one anothers burdens and so fulfill the law of Christ.”. (Galatians 6:2)
I discovered this verse as a new believer many years ago. So when the folks at church asked me how I was, I thought they really wanted to know. It didn’t take long to realize that wasn’t true. So I started giving the cursory. “I’m fine, how are you” answer.
New believers are so vulnerable.
Oftentimes it’s the new believer that will share his struggle with pornography, or anger or other “big” sin, or sometimes even “smaller” sins.
Many times those seasoned believers don’t know how to respond:
“Uh, oh, that’s nice”… while slowly stepping backwards
Or, “I’ll pray for you, brother”…while slapping their back. (imagine big, deep southern twang-y voice here)
Both response make for an awkward meeting. Rarely, does the one that shares their deepest sin get the compassion that Christ offers through us. (yes, I’m preaching to myself too).
“Maybe our response needs to be more like “Honey, I’m so sad to hear this, can I pray with you right now? Let’s go find a quiet corner” Or, “How can I help you be accountable?”
Mr. Bridges suggests that we need to share our sins with other believers so we can pray for each other and to be accountable. We must do this if we are to make progress and overcome a particular sin in our life.
Prayer requests often seem to be for
Comfort for those that have lost loved ones
Other people’s sin. (_____ is divorcing)
And these things are good, but they aren’t the meat of the Christian walk.
We rarely we ask for prayers for our own sin! We rarely let other believers even KNOW we sin. I think we sometimes forget that we are perfected ONLY through the blood of Christ and his sacrificial offering of himself to cover our sins.
I think this is part of the reason writing about my health struggles (and associated sin) has been so hard.
I also wonder if this is part of our modern church’s problem. We’re all about fluff and not getting to the meat of the matter.
Many times we even refuse to use the word sin.
We have a problem.
Or a struggle.
Or, it’s just the way I am
Or it’s the way God made me- even worse because then we’re blaming God for our sin!
It’s time we get back to the business of the Gospel. Part of the Gospel is it’s lifelong work in our lives- the blood covers ALL our sin, those sins we committed before we came to the saving knowledge of Christ and those sins we commit daily, hourly momentarily as believing sinners.
Recognizing those actions as sin is the first step.
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