Trivializing sin

Published 12:00 pm Sunday, November 6, 2022

“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” — 1 John 1:9 (NKJV)


Make no mistake about it — it is absolutely necessary that we confess to God that we have sinned, and are therefore sinners in need of forgiveness, before we can be forgiven. Until we realize the total depravity of our actions that God has called sin, and confess that we have chosen to do so, we have not confessed that we are sinners.

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The previous verse says, “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.” As long as we refuse to take ownership of our sins as “sin,” we deceive ourselves, trivializing our actions in order to make ourselves appear innocent from the very sin that we are supposed to be confessing.

Forgiveness is for sin. Jesus did not die the horrible death of the cross so that we could have our “mistakes”, our “shortcomings”, our “slips”, “trips” and “falls” forgiven. A simple “I’m sorry” is sufficient for mistakes. As long as we attempt to hide our sins behind mistakes and accidents, we have not forgiveness.

The thing that makes it so difficult for us to admit that we are sinners, guilty before God and man, is the fact that we must now take credit for His death. We have all heard it said of Jesus’ death, “if I had been the only one, He would have died for me.” That being the thesis, here is the antithesis: “If I had been the only sinner, He would have died because of my sins.” As uncomfortable as it is, as embarrassing as it surely is to the human ego, we must name ourselves as sinners against the very God of Whom we plead for forgiveness and redemption. Sin must be named and claimed as such before it is forgiven.

Mankind has always sought to trivialize sin. From Adam and Eve, to Cain and the billions who have followed, we have tried to lessen the heinous nature of our sins in some ridiculous attempt to absolve ourselves of what only God can forgive. Confess your sins, He is faithful.

Rev. Bobby Thornhill is a retired Methodist minister.