But what does it say? “The word is near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart,” that is, the message concerning faith that we proclaim: If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.
- Romans 10:8-9
“Christ said there is a happiness in that acknowledgment of spiritual poverty which lets God come into our souls. Now, the Bible teaches that our souls have a disease. It causes all the troubles and difficulties in the world. It causes all the troubles, confusions, and disillusionments in your own life. The name of the disease is an ugly word. We don’t like to use it. It is ‘sin.’ All of us have pride. We do not like to confess that we are wrong or that we have failed. But God says, ‘All have sinned and come short of the glory of God.’ We have failed to live up to the divine standard. We must confess our sin as the first step to happiness, peace, and contentment.”
- Billy Graham, Day by Day with Billy Graham (devotion for March 7)
Billy Graham’s book that is quoted above was compiled and published in 1976. Most of these devotions probably came from his newspaper advice column, thus the phrasing of “compiled.” He had been writing this column for over 20 years by that point. But it is striking that he likens the word “sin” to a four-letter word. Today, it is definitely on the Not PC list. I have heard pastors shy from the word while behind the pulpit. They avoid “Hell” and “damnation.” They want their sermons to be friendly, inviting, and void of words that are not “nice.”
Sin is not a “nice” word. It shows that we have faults. The world has this insane idea that we are fragile human beings and if we learn that we are not perfect, we will be harmed irreparably. The world is absolutely correct – IF we ignore God. God lays out a beautiful solution to this deadly disease, repentance and accepting His free gift of salvation.
Wait! How can I get a free gift, but I must repent? Repentance is turning away from sin. It is something that we could never accomplish without Christ being within us. Repentance, once accomplished, will never be a thing that we will look back on and say, “I sure missed those days.” The things that we give up becoming a follower of Christ are the things that looked good at the time, but they come to a grand total of nothing, once we look forward to the life we have in Jesus.
Do Christians feel that their self-esteem is harmed by knowing that they are sinners? No. It is the realization that we need a Savior that brought us to Christ in the first place. The world’s trick (orchestrated by Satan) has put the word “sin” on the naughty list so that the conversation cannot easily be turned toward our personal fallibility. Satan wants us to not realize that we need help. In fact, we grow up knowing that death is inevitable, but we ignore that thought and act like we are eternal.
But the human condition is fatal. We will all pass away. But the second death, the separation from God does not have to be a deadly disease. Sin is only curable by the cleansing power of Jesus Christ.
It is undeniable; we fall down, literally or by making a mistake. They say that it is not how many times that you fall, it is how many times you get back up. But a Christian sees it in a slightly different way. It is not how many times you fall; it is that one time when you realize that getting up is just going to lead to falling once more, and you turn to God and have Jesus pick you up.
And does knowing that Jesus having to pick you up hurt your self-esteem? Absolutely not. When you accept Jesus into your heart, you are a new creature with almighty God within you. With Jesus within you, everything is possible. How could anyone have a poor self-image knowing that Almighty God has adopted you as a son and that Jesus is your brother?
Soli Deo Gloria. Only to God be the Glory.