Something We Don’t Like To Talk About

I recall an awkward conversation at the door of an elderly woman in central Florida some years ago. I was canvasing her neighborhood as part of starting a new congregation in her area and was sharing the the good news of what Christ has done for us. But part of the message that people need to hear is something people don’t like to talk about. Before the gospel (literally “good news”) of Jesus can be meaningful and we can appreciate that he died for us, we need to know why that was needed. If we were all really good people, he wouldn’t have needed to come at all. To know that there’s something wrong with the world, all we need to do is to read or listen to the daily news: people dying in Syria, people protesting out in the cold in Ukraine, children being shot is schools. There’s a problem, and the Bible calls this problem “sin.” I was talking with that lady at her door about sin and she responded, “well, I’m not a sinner.” I probably said something like “we’re all sinners.” Well, she didn’t want to talk about that at all. But you know, we need to talk about that. The Bible teaches that God is real, and that he is our Creator. In the Bible, in the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20) and elsewhere he shares with us his expectations for how we are to live our lives. As our Creator, it is reasonable for him to have expectations about how his creation should live. When we live differently than what he asks of us, the Bible calls that “sin.” The problem is that sin doesn’t just go away. There really are no victimless crimes. When I made my omelet this morning, some of it stuck to the plate. Similarly, our sin sticks to us and unlike my omelet there’s no way that we can wash it off ourselves. In the book of James in the New Testament (chapter 2, verse 10) God tells us that even one sin makes us guilty in the sight of God. In the book of Isaiah (chapter 59, verse 2) God teaches us that our sin separates us from God. That may be something that we don’t like to talk about, but it’s something we (all of us) need to hear. The good news of what Jesus came to do for us is only good news if we realize that we have a problem that only Jesus could solve. The good news is that he has done so.

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