“God, how I thank You that I am not on the same level as other people—rooks, cheaters, the sexually immoral”— “God, be merciful to me, a sinner!” Luke 18:11;13
Truth be told I have had both of these thoughts in my heart…
On one hand applauding my goodness, judging others, on the other being painfully aware that I am in need of God’s mercy, that I deserve punishment, and death..
David wrote these words in Psalm 31
“I will gladly rejoice because of Your gracious love
because You recognized the sadness of my affliction.
You felt deep compassion when You saw the pains of my soul.
You did not hand me over to the enemy,
but instead, You liberated me
and made me secure in a good and spacious land”.
We forget that the grace, compassion, liberation, security, is because of God’s goodness not because we deserve it. In our sin God extended mercy. When we rush to point out the sins of others God reminds us to look first at our own house.
Jeremiah Johnson writes about this in Charisma magazine
“The Fathers heart is that the church must change her position on sexual immorality. For example in the area of homosexuality the church has protested against their agenda, but God says: “Has not your laziness and blindness on the issue of sexual immorality within the church given the homosexual agenda its true power? Has not your careless disregard for the sanctity of marriage caused you to use sexual pleasure as an end to itself, disregarding the precious little ones and in your selfishness denying their right to live? The main issue is not the homosexual agenda or the abortion agenda. The main issue is with the church, with you, and with the power you have given to your enemies by failing to preach holiness and purity in the church, failing to live holy and pure lives.
I have not called you to persecute anyone or look down on their sin; I have called you to repent before me for your wickedness and sin. I will deal with all who fail to turn from sin; but you must confront and deal with your own sin. Your doctrine is inaccurate and inadequate, your motives are impure. Before you pluck the speck out of their eyes, you have plenty in your own to remove.”
I believe Mr. Johnson has it right.
We must first recognize the presence of deception and sin in our lives, the immorality we have embraced, and our conspicuous absence from the world we are called to influence, each one of us must confront our sin, allow our hearts to be broken over it, ask forgiveness and turn away from sin.
The prophet Isaiah had this experience. In the presence of the glory and majesty, of the LORD high and lifted up, Isaiah came face to face with his sinfulness and cried out:
““Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts!” Isaiah 6:5
It was after this cleansing took place in the presence of God that this man, friend to a king, and prophet of Israel was able to say “Here am I, send me”
May it be so with us.