His name was Roger and I was in 7th, maybe 8th grade. He spoke at a youth rally at the old Woodlawn building. I was spell bound. He “had a story.” I’ve often wished I had a story. A story of redemption from some evil demon, of salvation from the gutter.
It dawns on me: Since I don’t have a story, I’ll just tell His!
Do you remember the first time you sinned? Maybe I just torment myself, but I do. I was 6, maybe 7 years old. Doing what 6 year old boys do – running. But I was running somewhere I shouldn’t have been. I was at the church building. Not in it, but at it. If I’d been in it I would have been doing that speed walking thing little boys do when they know they aren’t supposed to be running. It was a rainy Sunday and I was running behind my brother and a friend of his and as we ran from outside to under the passenger drop-off I slid. There was a VERY OLD lady standing there waiting for her ride. I bumped into her. My shinny and slippery Sunday shoes were also sharp and it cut her leg. I apologized and ran off – a little scared. That afternoon dad told about the lady who got knocked down by some boys running and asked if we knew anything about it. I lied. I said I didn’t. It was my first willful sin. I knew what I was saying was wrong. See, I can’t be trusted. It gets worse. In 5th grade I took something that didn’t belong to me. In 6th I found some pages from a dirty magazine in the road and kept them. In 9th I changed a grade in a grade book. As I grew bigger so did my sins. I took some money given for one purpose and used it for another. I practiced deceit to cover a mistake. I became angry with a person, and then another and another and I allowed bitterness to take root in my heart. I played the hypocrite to make people believe I was better than I am. I tried to make myself look better by making another look worse.
Now, I know some of you are thinking: “I didn’t want to hear all of that.” I can assure you I want to tell it less than you want to hear it. I’d rather you believe I’m a really good guy. But that’s part of the problem and some of us need, yes, need to take our masks of hypocrisy, we need to unmask our sins. There are no white-collar sins. All sin is evil and advancing unless we find one who can overcome it. I don’t glory in my sin. Not at all, I’m trying to do better – most all the time I am trying. No, I don’t glory in my sin but I do in my Savior. Because He did overcome sin and death and only in Him can any of us do the same. From Genesis to the Resurrection the Bible is the Story of God showing man that he cannot justify himself on his own – merits, goodness, works, abilities, possessions, positions, prestige – period.
I can’t be trusted to be on my own. I suspicion you can’t either. I need…Christ – the only One who can cover my sins. And I need…Christians – who want to go to heaven and to help me to the same. And I need…lost people – to help me remember what I am without Christ, to help me love Him more – to teach about how He redeemed me and can redeem them.
I can’t be trusted to be on my own…thankfully…I’m not.