Tag Archives: sin

My Angry Friend

(How do I say this without sounding crazy. I don’t think that’s possible. I’m okay with that.)

I have this friend named Angry Tracie. She first showed up when I was 16 and pregnant; until recently, I didn’t realize how much a part of my life she’d become.

Angry Tracie has been my trusted companion when I’m hurting, and I’ve especially enjoyed rehashing old hurts with her. She seemed to be the only person who listened to me and cared about my feelings. Her presence comforted me. Angry Tracie became my closest friend.

I got saved 13 years ago. But I’ve still trusted her more than anyone. Through lots of personal struggles, when I felt like God wasn’t listening, didn’t like me and wasn’t concerned about my broken heart, Angry Tracie was there to console me. (That’s a hard thing to confess for a Christ-follower.)

I didn’t recognize Angry Tracie’s influence, more than 20 years of it. But I do now. Knowing about her is changing the way I think and behave and live. Jesus is gently working us through it. Man. I love Him for that.

Do you have a “friend” who might be keeping you from really living, and really loving?

Tagged , , ,

Sinless Christians

I’ve been wondering whether it’s possible for a Christian to become mostly sinless.

Now, I’m talking about born-again believers here. Jesus-followers.

In his book “The Grace Awakening,” Chuck Swindoll said many of us are taught that “we’re only human,” and “we can’t  help but sin.” And this is what we’re being taught after we’re saved. Swindoll disagrees. He asserts that it is possible to become less and less prone to sin as we become more and more spiritually mature. He says teaching to the contrary dismisses grace altogether, negates the purpose of the Holy Spirit…

I read Ezekiel 36:26-27 last week, and I’ve been thinking about it and going back to it ever since.

What do you think?

Tagged , , , , ,

It’s called good news for a reason.

No, I don’t think you understand… There really is good news! And everybody needs to know it. Everybody needs to evaluate it at face value.

In the spring of 1992 I woke up from a dream about the son I’d aborted. When I sat up, still half asleep, I saw my bed surrounded by leaping, orange flames. (They weren’t really there.) I finally recognized myself honestly: I was a murderer. I also recognized the flames: I was going straight to hell. Right away I was swallowed up by utter hopelessness. That year is like a mental abyss. I don’t remember most of it, and that’s especially sad since it was the first year of my oldest daughter’s life. Eventually I managed to stuff everything. But if something triggered the memory, horror was waiting to dive on me.

I didn’t know there was good news for another seven years.

So, subtract all the hype, the judgmental-ism, the “servants” with gold toilet seats, the ugliness perpetuated by those who believed they were doing God’s work. Just evaluate the good news for what it is.

Everybody knows they’re guilty. Everybody knows there’s a cost for their sins … their lies, their shortcomings, their greed and spite and general ugliness. (Don’t sleep … you know.) Our sin keeps us from being able to get close to God. Worse, we’re slaves to sin. Sin has a ring in our noses and leads us around like cattle. Since it’s the only life we’ve known, we don’t recognize its power over us. We work really hard to stay enslaved. Slavery is comfortable and fashionable, and everybody’s doing it! It’s the new black! And even if we realize the truth about our slavery, we’re still powerless to end it.

So we don’t know who we really are, or who we’re meant to be.

The end result of sin is death. God doesn’t want this. He wants us, and he is willing to chase us and show us how much he loves us. So he chose to both wipe our records clean and pay for our release. The currency for these things was his own blood–completely sin-free. Through His sinless son Jesus, our sins were paid for and our guilt was erased. When he died, he took our sins with him into the grave. And when he came back to life, he left our sins behind to rot in the tomb. 

Now, if you don’t know about this, you might go on living like a slave. Or even if you know it, you might prefer slavery. But if you want to be free, you can be. You exchange your guilt and your former life for the life God wants for you through Jesus. You choose to stop following sin around like a walking slab of beef with a ring through its nose, and follow Jesus. His way leads to the life you were created to live, the you that you were meant to be.

Oh, and it’s not a little of this and a little of that. You can only have one or the other. Complete slavery to sin (which is the default setting when you’re born), or complete submission to Jesus. (I’m not gonna pretty it up and say dumb crap like Jesus will take away all your troubles, and your life will be like a rosy stroll in the park either.) Without God, you’re on your own (and maybe that’s fine with you). With God … well, you’ll have God! Who or what else could you possibly need!

Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,