Originally posted June 13, 2013, at Barefoot Pastor. Republished with permission of the author.
Last week, I preached about hypocrisy. I have recently changed my diet to something akin to veganism, but because of all the exceptions to my rule, I can’t properly be called a vegan. Instead, I call myself “situationally vegan,” which means I’m not really vegan at all.
Our lives can’t stand up to absolute scrutiny. We all have commitments that would be easier to honor “situationally” or only when convenient. Some would like to be “situationally married.” Some would like to be “situationally a parent.” Some would like to only situationally pay the bills. All of us, even with our best efforts, end up being “situationally Christian.” It is impossible for us to follow Jesus with complete integrity, but the grace is that we don’t have to. Yes, we try. But we are humbled by knowing that we can’t ever reach perfection. Through Christ’s healing love we are given a wholeness we can’t achieve on our own.
This week I will preach about forgiveness. The Gospel (Luke 7) features a woman who is called “a sinner.” Jesus angers the Pharisees by allowing her to wash his feet. He then points out through a parable that the Pharisees are also sinners. This, of course, would offend them greatly. Those who take offense at their sinfulness can’t claim the great gift of forgiveness. We have to come clean in order to be free from our guilt.
We need hide nothing from God. Forgiveness is as great a miracle as physical healing. Better. Forgiveness is ours for the taking, but in order to take it, we have to be honest about our guilt. As Psalm 32 says: “While I kept silence, my body wasted away … Then I acknowledged my sin to you, — and you forgave the guilt of my sin.”