Ever have someone tell you that you are sick because of some sin issue? It’s not the best approach to winsomeness with people, that’s for sure. What does Jesus say about it? We learn that in this message from John 9.1-12…
From time to time, when the bad news seriously outweighs the good, we are tempted to throw our arms in the air and exclaim, “What’s wrong with the world?”
This is nothing new, for many years ago, a correspondent of the Times of London was researching and reporting on many of the challenges of society – many of them similar to today’s – and would end every piece he wrote with that same statement: “What’s wrong with the world?”
The renowned English writer, G.K. Chesterton, once wrote a reply to that correspondent which has become one of the things for which he is best known. He wrote,
What’s wrong with the world?
If we want to know what’s wrong with the world, we can start with some self-reflection. That’s why I commend to all followers of Jesus the ancient practice of the examen – examining our conscience (for sin) and our consciousness (of God’s presence in our lives) every day. Consider concluding your day with a time with the Lord in which you review your day to see where God seemed most distant and most near to you. Respond to where God leads you in that time with your own resolve to seek the Holy Spirit’s help in not being what’s wrong with the world.
“Not a single person on earth is always good and never sins” (Ecclesiastes 7.20, NLT).
Not long ago, I received word that my family physician is going to be retiring at the end of September. I’m particularly sad about this, because he’s one of those “old school” doctors who takes the Hippocratic Oath very seriously, who still makes house calls when necessary, and who almost always has enough room in his daily schedule to fit in those last-minute needed appointments. I will miss having him play a role in my life.
He has engaged a firm that will digitize his patients’ files so that all the records of my years of being seen by him will fit onto a CD that I can carry to my next doctor, whoever that may be. Everything that he has seen me for in the past eight years will be available for the new physician to review. Every. Little. Thing. Yes, the important things, like my drug allergy (yikes) and my body mass index (ouch), but also the less affirming things, like the time I had to be treated for a boil on my bottom (let’s not go there). Every. Little. Thing.
Of course, this is all for my good, right? The new doctor will need to know my background fully in order to be able to treat me properly when I come for assistance. The new doctor needs to see the big picture.
I like how God can see the big picture – the whole picture – but chooses not to. The apostle John says of the Lord, “he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness” (1 John 1.9, NLT). And when does that happen? The earlier part of the verse says it happens “if we confess our sins to him”. And when God receives our confession of sin and forgives us and cleanses us, he keeps no record of our sins. They are gone like dust in the wind.
Let’s not kid ourselves: God could remember every little thing if he wanted to. But he chooses not to. As the old saying goes, he throws the sins we confess to him into the lake of forgetfulness, and posts a ‘no fishing’ sign there. While our medical records may have the good, the bad and the ugly in them, our divine records do not – when we live in relationship with God, believing that Jesus died to take away our sins and rose again to draw us to eternal life. When we are in Christ, God looks upon us as if we have the righteousness of Christ.
Our challenge is to seek to live that way. Growing in holiness, in righteousness – that’s the best response to realizing that God chooses not to remember every little thing. I’m praying that God will give you the grace and strength to grow in holiness and righteousness!