Sin often slices us to ribbons in ways we can't see. We're blind to the paper-thin cuts. Sin cuts and slices everyone so often that its wounds never heal. Then, one day, we're stunned to discover that we've been bled dry. Strength fails us. Breath doesn't return to us. Death mocks our prayers for one more day of life.
We don't usually feel the effects of sin until it's too late. Then, we beg for relief, that God would stop the physical, mental, and emotional pain. We struggle to take another step as the weight of our shame, fear, grief, and pain bears down on us. We hold our breath, waiting for the inevitable judgment of God, family, and friends to erupt. We struggle to find meaning in a life that, in retrospect, was wasted swallowing sugar-coated lies.
Sin tempts us to choose resentment rather than selfless love. It tempts us to condemn rather than sympathize. Sin entices us to seek our own council rather than communicate with others. Sin cuts and slices us to death one action, one choice, and one moment at a time until, one day many years from now, we groan, "How did this happen to me?"
Sin cuts us off from family and friends. It slices us into pieces so that we are divided and at war within ourselves. Sin leaves us isolated so that there's no one to walk with us, nobody to pick us up when we fall, not a brother, or a comrade in arms, or a "beloved" to defend us when things go sideways. Sin renders us incapable of loving others as ourselves because we don't love ourselves. We're turned into victims who view everyone as a potential abuser. Sin tempts us to give in to sin, to normalize sin, so that our identity as individuals, as families, and as a society is defined by sin.
That's' why we've developed an easy way to deal with sin: we cover sin with sin. "As bad as my sin is," we say, "there's always someone more sinful than me." It's easy to lie to ourselves, that our sin isn't as bad as someone else's sin. So long as our sin is private, hidden from public view, wounding us in places others can't see, there's always an opportunity to deflect attention from ourselves onto others.
The easiest way for us to contend with our sin is to become an agent of sin. We slice and cut others to pieces for all the world to see. "Look at that one," we declare. "Look at his sin!" And there's always plenty of people who will join in, deploring with us "that terrible sinner," assuaging our shame and grief (even if it's just a momentary respite).
But, won't sin's damage ever heal? Will the slices and cuts ever stop bleeding? What do we do about the scars? Do we cover them up, hoping no one will notice? Do we make excuses, and blame others for the wounds and scars that can't be hidden from view? Or do we stop avoiding the obvious answer? Do we stop playing the victim, stop looking for a sacrificial victim to hoist upon the cross with our name on it? Do we stop behaving like cowards and own our sin, all of it, nothing left out or excused?
Unless Jesus is already nailed to the cross with our name on it can we, must we, own our sin. Only Christ crucified sets us free to confess the truth: "I AM THE SINNER!"
Only the One whom God made to become sin so that we may become the righteousness of God can free us to confess and hear the good news that no matter how fatal the wounds, sin can't cut us off from our Savior God. In fact, Jesus is Sin to our sin now. Our Sin crucified at Calvary and buried a twenty-minute walk from downtown Jerusalem. Our Sin who is also our Savior raised from death for our justification so that no lack of strength, no loss of breath, not one second of our wasted life is not reclaimed by God's redeeming grace in Christ Jesus.