For the wages of sin is death…
Death? Death? Death for the aggravated reaction toward my extremely rude classmate? Death for the desire to prove my point to my husband? Death for running my mouth, just a tad too far, just that one time? Death is my earning for those things?
In the moment, it sure doesn’t feel that way. It feels as though my irritation toward the classmate is warranted. They are acting foolish. It feels as though my husband needs only to see that I am right, and then he’ll understand. It feels as though a little venting to my friends is acceptable after a hard day. They probably know I don’t really mean those things that I said.
But the wages of sin is death. Why do I forget that? It’s such an extreme and clearly written truth; so why does it seem to totally slip my mind?
I forget because I am viewing life through the lens of comparison with other people. By that evaluation, I am doing pretty well. Maybe I am not the most holy, but I am certainly not the least. There are countless other people sinning in countless other ways that I do not struggle with. (Although, hopefully, we can see the pharisaical self-righteousness in that viewpoint.) If I measure my righteousness by comparing myself with other people, then often times I have not much to be concerned about.
A quick reality check might be to compare my life and my heart with that of Jesus, instead (Mark 10:45).
A Decent Track Record
If we throw away the temptation to compare with others, and look only at ourselves, there still might be a danger. I forget the weight of my sin because I am believing in a righteousness earned by works; and most of my works are pretty good, right? Just a few unsightly moments here and there, but only when I was pushed to the edge.
A read through the book of Galatians could be helpful (Galatians 2:16).
That being said, committing scriptures to memory would be beneficial for us. Ephesians 2:11-13 commands us to remember the death that we have been rescued from; and there is no better way than by memorizing His Word. Would the Holy Spirit honor this choice to learn these Scriptures? You bet. In moments when we are not afforded the opportunity to open our Bibles (or Bible apps), the Spirit will have these memorized scriptures to bring to the forefront of our minds, just when we need it.
“It’s not that big of a deal. It’s understandable that I reacted in that way; anyone would.”
James 1 : 19-20
“Know this, my beloved brothers:
let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, and slow to anger;
for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God.”
But also, it would behoove us to hedge ourselves in the protection of good community. “Two heads are better than one,” coming with two sets of eyes, two personalities, and two perspectives. When I can’t see the gravity of my sin, they may be able to; and a good and loving community will turn me in the right direction.
Scripture memory, that I might remind myself of the truth about my sin.
Community, that they might remind me of the truth about my sin.