Sin! It is in all of us. Even the most perfect person we know deals with sin on one level or another. In 1 John 1:8 (English Standard Version), we read, If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.
Moreover, Romans 3:10 (New International Version) says, As the Scriptures say, “No one is righteous – not even one.” And Romans 3:23 (New International Version) says, For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.
All Have Sinned
If we deal directly with sin, we must think of sin as a living being. Look square in the face of sin and see it for what it is. Call it out. What is it doing? What is it saying? And how does it make us feel?
It is safe to answer, “My sin makes me feel great!” to the question about how sin makes us feel. Let’s be honest. Quite often, when we are in the midst of our sins, we feel fantastic. We enjoy doing what we are doing as we are doing it. But, at the end of the day, after we are all done sinning, we are left feeling worse for having engaged in the sin, and the compulsion to seek forgiveness surfaces. It is a relentless cycle that weakens our souls with each encounter with sin.
Let me share an example of how this might play out. Let’s say your sin is the sin of revenge. People who seek revenge feel that the bible verse found in Matthew 5:38 allows them to take action against people who mistreated them. Matthew 5:38 says, You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth.’
Let me quickly share that this bible verse is not about taking revenge on others. No. This bible verse is meant as a guide for judges to set appropriate fines to punish someone who caused harm to another. It is a way to establish a punishment fit for the crime. It does not mean that if someone does something that causes you to lose your eye, you now stick a stake in their eye, causing them to lose their eye. A more appropriate fine would be for the person to pay for your medical bills and all that is required to help you regain or accommodate your loss of sight.
Let's read what the New International Version of Romans 12:17-19 says about seeking revenge. Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord.
Proverbs 20:22 (New International Version) says, Do not say, ‘I’ll pay you back for this wrong!’ Wait for the Lord, and he will avenge you.
Revenge Won’t Solve Your Problem
Revenge won’t solve your problem. Quite often, while you are in the midst of revenge, it feels like you have conquered your opponent. In fact, revenge facilitates increased anger and retaliation—another vicious cycle.
In talking to people who have sought revenge and won, they have shared with me how they feel they left a piece of themselves in the battle after winning.
Let me share a story to show how revenge works. Now, let me say first this story is fiction. The names are fictitious and do not represent anyone you or I know. The names are added so that the story can be followed easily.
Allie and Brenda are friends who occasionally get together for lunch on Fridays, and during these luncheons, they sometimes share intimate details of their life. One day, Allie shared the details of an argument Allie and her husband, Ben, had the previous night. The following Sunday, someone from church walked up to Allie, hugged her, and said, “I am so sorry to hear about the problems you and Ben are having. I hope you can resolve them soon. I’ll pray for you. Ok?” Allie was a little bit taken aback. In fact, she was furious. The only one she talked about the argument to was Brenda. Instead of confronting Brenda, Allie decided to share one of Brenda’s secrets with a very talkative church member. Well, before long, Brenda’s secret was out. Brenda knows Allie exposed her secret. And now both Allie and Brenda’s reputation has been compromised. Feeling betrayed, they begin a vicious cycle of making one look worse than the other. While the exposure was done in whispers placed into the ears of others, the effect was public humiliation. Needless to say, the friendship ended with Allie and Brenda being foes of war.
Allie could have avoided this destruction if she had remembered that revenge is the Lord’s.
Romans 12:19-20 (King James Version) states, Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.
The Lord’s way is better. Allie could have let the Lord fight her battle. She could have allowed the Lord to decide the nature of punishment or reconciliation for Brenda's sin of gossip. Instead of getting even with Brenda, Allie could have focused on resolving the problem with love, kindness, and compassion. After all, just as Brenda initiated strife out of the sinful nature within her, Allie responded with retaliation by her own sinful nature, as well.
We all mess up. Some of us have more experience and better control over our sins than others. Nevertheless, none of us should act as if we are better than others, for we all will struggle with sin until the day we die.
We Can Overcome Sin
I recently heard a minister say, “You can’t heal what you don’t reveal.” I agree! While we cannot crush sin entirely out of our life, we can overcome sin. The first step in overcoming sin is to recognize the sin. Be honest with yourself about the sin. Then, ask the Holy Spirit within you to help you overcome the sin you have identified. He will help you every step of the way.
Love Wins All
Love is the greatest tool to use when we are under strife of any kind. Perhaps if Allie had acted in love and forgiven Brenda, she and Brenda might still be friends.
This year, on April 7, 2023, we remembered Good Friday, the day Jesus died on the cross as a sacrifice for our sins. His sacrifice was offered to us because of His love for us. On April 9, 2023, we celebrated Easter, the day the Lord rose from His death on the cross, restoring His exalted life as Christ and Lord.
Our Lord does not ask much of us. He asks us to believe in Him as our Savior, and He asks us to love.
John 13:34 (New International Version) says, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.”
Ephesians 4:32 (English Standard Version) says, Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.
Best wishes and prayers go out to you as you live in faith, hope, and love.
Cover Photo Credit: Photo by Yaroslav Shuraev: https://www.pexels.com/photo/person-whispering-near-the-woman-s-ear-5085562/
Lunch Photo by cottonbro studio: https://www.pexels.com/photo/an-elderly-woman-looking-at-each-other-while-holding-fork-6928672/
Marlene Bertrand is an evangelist and a reputably ordained minister. In 2012, Marlene established a ministry with Christian House International to share the gospel with the world. Through Voice of Hope, Marlene hopes people will learn about the Lord, our Savior and will come to know, love, and trust Him for a life forever in the Kingdom of God.
Join us as we share our Christian journey of hope through faith, love and life.