"Forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. Matthew 6:12
You may have heard or used the phrase, "Hate the sin, love the sinner,"
though this is much easier said than done. We often end up hating the sin
and the sinner, too. It's hard to separate the person from the offense, but
there seems to be something more going on here than just our limited human
sin-sinner separation skills.
Consider what the Bible says comes before a fall--pride (Proverbs 16:18).
Hating not only the sin but the sinner helps maintain the illusion of our
superiority over the other person. "I would never do that, say that, or
think that." And that (whatever the sin is) soon gets blended into the
sinner, with the result being, "I'm not like her or him or them."
Remember the lady from the television commercial? "Help, I've fallen and I
can't get up!" Little did she know, but she was giving us a fairly good
paraphrase of Romans 3.23 -- all have sinned and fallen short of the glory
of God. Failing to admit this daily keeps us tight-fisted with forgiveness
and mercy--the very bloodstained gifts that flowed from the open hands of
Jesus on the cross. Failing to say this leaves us with a pridefully skewed
version of that advertisement: "I'm up, I've never fallen (at least not
like you), and so I don't need help!" And while we try to convince
ourselves that we're just saying that about our brothers, we're really
saying that to Him. Instead, let's remember that we've all fallen, and we
can't get up. Rescue us, O Lord. Forgive us our sin as we forgive those
who sin against us. Yours is the kingdom, the power, and the glory forever.
In His Love & Service,
Pastor Larry E. Campbell
St. Paul A.M.E. Church, San Bernardino, CA
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