01 Oct Excuse me? Excuse sins?
Sinners are defensive in nature, right from Adam & Eve in the garden of Eden down to us. We will come up with all sorts of excuses to downplay sins / sinful behaviours to avoid true repentance. Though it is easy to mouth the words of apologies to others or God, but we know deep inside our hearts, there are a lot of rationalising taking place, which will leave room for future re-offending. However, from the bible we read, we know that God is always merciful. He does not strike at the moment man sins, but He always withhold his discipline until our heart is so hardened that we can no longer repent without His discipline. Hence, it is important for us to know the loopholes where we tend to rationalise when it comes to sins.
How Do We Rationalise Our Sins?
The Blame Game
This is very popular in today’s society. Whenever something happens, everyone will look for someone to blame. Personally, when we sin, we are also inclined to push the blame, either to someone who accused us first, or to circumstances which shape us to sin. For example, “I can only use my handphone during the weekends, that is why I am using it as much as I can”. It happened to Adam & Eve as well. And when we do that, it seems like the sins somehow are no longer attributed to us or by us.
“I will deal with it later”
This is even more likely for youths because we are young in age.
Our sinful hearts, although we know that we are not right before God, somehow we choose to believe that we have all the time in the world to make things right.
We may even use the fact that God is a patient and merciful God to excuse our sinful behaviors. This will not lead us to repentance but greater, deepened sins.
We find excuses for our sins by selectively comparing ourselves to someone worse than us. We do this by making ourselves “look better” in comparison and to feel “less sinful”. And as long as we are not the worst, it seems less severe and okay for us to continue in our old ways. Another kind of selective comparison is to compare our righteous deeds against our sinful deeds. If our righteous deeds (coming to church, praying, reading the bible, serving etc.) outweigh our sinful deeds, we will downplay our sins and will then find it difficult to turn from our old ways. “If we get most things right, God will excuse the few things we get wrong.”
The world has taught us that everything in moderation is good. Even for good things, for example, nutritional food or exercise. And at the same time, it also gives man the opportunity to indulge in sinful behaviors like chasing drama series, drinking, skipping church to hang out with friends by claiming that they only enjoy these in moderation. Such rationalizing is being overly confident of ourselves in dealing with sins. We must know that every great sin starts small.
Such rationalizing is being overly confident of ourselves in dealing with sins. We must know that every great sin starts small.
“I am keeping it real.”
In modern society, genuineness is being greatly valued, be it in school, in your social circle, or in church. However, in Christian living, it becomes an excuse for Christians to treat their own sins lightly. In the name of being real, holiness and sanctification are being compromised.
It seems that being real is more important than seeking holiness. It seems as long as you declare your weaknesses, there is not a need to deal with them.
“All along, I am like that”
Some of us justified our sinful deeds by appealing to our past.
“Old habits die hard”, “I am like this even before I come to church”, “This will be my thorn forever”. Worse still, because of our inability to repent, we authorize our loved ones to be like us. For example, we allow our younger siblings to try smoking because we tried before, parents allowing their children to be very intimate with friends of another gender because they used to be like that etc.
3 Truths in Dealing with Our Sins
Never Underestimate Sins
Sins cannot be satisfied, they will grow exponentially if we allow them to exist.
The bible mentioned that sins are like yeast. Your boasting is not good. Don’t you know that a little yeast leavens the whole batch of dough? Get rid of the old yeast, so that you may be a new unleavened batch—as you really are.
Many people were regretful when their evil doings got out of proportion and they usually did not expect themselves to become who they are now. For example, while stained with a seemingly wrong sinful behaviour (overindulging in devices), one will not expect that there will come a day where he/she will threaten with suicide when the devices are to be taken away from them. There is actually real life story of this happening.
Hence, do not underestimate sins / sinful behaviors, especially insignificant ones because they are insatiable. They will grow to a point whereby it is difficult for us to turn back (to the right ways, to God). 3 But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people.
So, in the bible also mentioned that, we must not leave any hint of sin unhandled.
However small, they must be dealt with because definitely, consequences to sins will follow.
We Sinned Against God, Not Man
If we do not get this truth right, we will never be able to give birth to true repentance (like King David), we will also not deal with our hidden sins because they did not impact people around us. If we only see ourselves sinning against man, the most we can get are emotions, especially sorrows, out of guilt. Such emotions are deceiving and will not sustain us in our real fights against sins because in , the bible says that our hearts are deceitful.
The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?
The craftiness of our human hearts creates half-hearted remorse, using external repentance to mask our inward indifference. If we do not see that we sinned against God not man, we will only receive man’s forgiveness, not God’s. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. If we do not receive God’s forgiveness and his unconditional love and finished works on the cross for us, we will not be able to withstand the world’s temptations. Because the battles on earth are not of the flesh but of the spirit. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.
Lastly, it is also important to acknowledge that each one of us is accountable to God because all of us have sinned against God. Therefore, it is really foolish for us to compare ourselves with one another. Because at the end of the day, each of us will stand alone before God.
For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each of us may receive what is due us for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad.
God’s Love Is More Stubborn Than Our Rebellion
Here is a promise from God and we can definitely acknowledge this from the many bible stories we knew. But, we have to experience this. Not just in the past when we received his salvation, but presently and in future that the gospel not only saves, but the gospel transforms! God is a patient and loving God, but His patience and love should motivate us to repent, not to continue in sin.
The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.
No matter how much we can rebel against God, how much we want to continue in our sinful ways, God’s love will certainly interfere.
He interferes through discipline, not to punish but to save us from further destruction.
For the Lord your God is gracious and compassionate. He will not turn his face from you if you return to him.
Another important promise in is that it is never too late, but we must acknowledge that we limited beings never know when is too late? (e.g. we won’t know if we will see tomorrow)
Hence, the quicker we turn to God for His help, the quicker we will be able to receive His forgiveness and the freedom from the bondage of sins.
An article by Deacon John Low.