Tuesday, February 25, 2014

I Am A Sinner...Or Am I?

{This post is part of Conversion Diary's 7 Posts in 7 Days Series.}

We are all sinners in need of redemption. We are all broken. We are all fallen in need of a savior. We will remain sinners until our dying breath. There is only one thing we can do about it.

Repent and believe.

And love.

We all fall short of the glory of Christ, but we certainly like to measure our sins against one another’s. Somehow it can make us feel better to think our sin is “less than” our neighbor’s sin. Sin is sin. It all breaks our relationship with God. Some sin does more damage, for certain, but it all does damage. While we are measuring ourselves against that person over there, God still waits for us to admit our brokenness, to stop comparing and simply come before Him. 

Our sin looks different from everyone else’s. Everyone’s sin looks different from one another’s. It’s because sin is personal. We are each tempted in different ways. We each have different wounds that make us vulnerable to different forms and extent of sin. You and me, she and he - we are all wounded healers in the field hospital of God that Pope Francis has mentioned. We are all wounded warriors in this battle toward good and heaven. 

When we thirst for God, for Jesus, for goodness, we cannot forget to be gentle in our zeal. When we see another’s failings, we have to remember our own. We must see the soul behind the failing, and remember – Jesus thirsts for them. We must see the wound behind the sin and invite one another to a healing that only comes when our defenses are lowered and we feel safe. Lest we get a big head, we have to remember that if we aren’t sick, Jesus has no business with us. He didn’t come for the well, he came for the wounded. He came to heal us, to reunite us, to make us whole again. All of us. Every single last one of us despite the sin we keep.

That is good news. Here, also, is more good news. We are not our sins. Sin does not define us. As Pope John Paul II said in his closing homily of World Youth Day in Toronto in 2002, “We are not the sum of our weaknesses and failures; we are the sum of the Father’s love for us and our real capacity to become the image of his Son.” Not good news – GREAT news.

Even as a mother, it becomes so easy to nitpick at the kids for the things that drive me crazy. Stop screaming, sit still, stop talking, put your toys away, don’t bug your brother/sister, no whining…the list becomes exhaustive and our interactions stop being life-giving. What if, we were simply humble about acknowledging all the work we need to do on our own lives and souls, and gave each other a break. I don’t mean letting go of our beliefs or our principles – right is always right. What if we, instead of searching out each other’s sins, began to look for the good in one another? What if we stopped pointing out each other’s failings, began to point out the goodness?

What would our families, neighborhoods, communities, churches and the world look like if we began to search for the imprint of God, which is ALWAYS GOOD, which is our true definition, which is our true identity? What if we saw the fingerprints of the divine in one another and pointed that out, and extended a hand in support to help battle the bad? We don’t have to ignore the sin. We just have to tell the devil that we know he’s a liar – that despite our sin, Jesus loves us. In our sin, He came for us, He died for us, He rose for us, He lives IN US. In each and every one of us that has been baptized into a life with Christ, He LIVES.

We know if He lives in us, then all things are possible, because He makes it so - for you, for me, for the whole of the world, He makes all things possible…even overcoming the gravest of sins, the darkest of failings. Love, healing, mercy – that is the road to salvation, friends. Without it, you and I are both toast! So let’s bring the love, let’s show the mercy, let’s point toward healing, let’s be about seeking God in one another and fanning the flame of the Holy Spirit instead of the flames of shame, fear and doubt. It’s not a competition – His mercy is wide enough to encompass the whole world. We are all sinners seeking redemption – let’s seek Him together in solidarity. 

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