Have you ever felt like you’re incapable of certain kinds of sins?
I know I have, only to later find myself humbly confessing those very sins. If there’s one thing the Bible is clear about it’s that we’re all capable of great evil, and that despite our attempts to rank sins from bad to really really bad, God views our sin much in the same way. Our pride is direly misplaced.
Our Daily Bread reminds us today that our response to someone else’s sin should be alertness rather than smug pride that we haven’t done the same:
It has become so commonplace to hear of the misconduct of a respected public figure that even though we may be deeply disappointed, we are hardly surprised. But how should we respond to the news of a moral failure, whether by a prominent person or a friend? We might begin by looking at ourselves. A century ago, Oswald Chambers told his students at the Bible Training College in London, “Always remain alert to the fact that where one man has gone back is exactly where anyone may go back . . . . Unguarded strength is double weakness.”
Chambers’ words echo Paul’s warning to be aware of our own vulnerability when we see the sins of others. After reviewing the disobedience of the Israelites in the wilderness (1 Cor. 10:1-5), Paul urged his readers to learn from those sins so they wouldn’t repeat them (vv.6-11). He focused not on past failings but on present pride when he wrote, “Let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall” (v.12).
The devotional above reminded me of the parable that Jesus told in Luke 18:9-14 about the Pharisee and the tax collector. In it, Jesus tells the story of the Pharisee and the tax collector praying at the temple. The Pharisee thanks God for everything he’s not, the tax collector merely asks for mercy for his sins. Jesus concludes by saying that the tax collector was justified before God, not the Pharisee.
Have you been comparing your “goodness” to others? What would it take for you to spend some time today humbling yourself before God?