Weekly column…

Some people in my church asked me to begin writing a weekly column for them. For three weeks now I’ve been supplying the Sunday bulletin with an insert. Just rambling thoughts, for the most part. I guess I’ll post them here too for the helluvit.


The Book of Hebrews tells us about the “sins that so easily entangle us.” This week, I’ve been thinking about sin more than usual, which I guess means I should confess a little.

I don’t think I sin like I should. By that, I mean that I forget too often that I’m a sinner. The nature of religion is that it traps people into a system of self-righteousness. At the moment of salvation, we find ourselves at the altar of the temple crying out to God like the publican, “God, have mercy on me a sinner.” Eventually, however, we graduate to the place of the Pharisee and thank God that “we aren’t as other men.”

I guess I’m trying to say that I see other men’s sins more easily than I see my own, which explains why Jesus admonished his disciples about trying to remove splinters from somebody else’s eyes when they had planks in their own. It’s very easy to get caught up noticing the flaws and failures and follies of those around us. And it’s easy to preach sermons or moralize about what everybody else is doing wrong so we never have to face ourselves — our nasty, filthy, fleshly selves — in the mirror.

But this week has been different for me. I’ve been thinking about my own sinfulness in general, and my sins in particular. I’ve been thinking about how long it’s been since I’ve truly “repented” of something, or since I’ve truly confessed my sins to somebody rather than just “apologize” or “ask forgiveness.” When this realization hit me, I thought to myself, “Well, it’s easy. Just get on your knees and talk to God about it.” That’s what I’d preach to others, and that’s how I’ve counseled some of you.

So I tried it. I got down on the bedroom floor and leaned over my chair and started to talk to God about my sins. It wasn’t easy. My mind wandered, and I started thinking about other people’s sins. If I was confessing lust, then my mind raced to think about somebody I know who’s dealing with it worse than I am. If I was confessing poor stewardship, I started thinking about the thieves in our convention who steal money from God’s people. If I tried to confess the sins of my tongue, I couldn’t help but think about things other people had said about me in the past.

Finally, I just sat there thinking about the royal mess I was in that I couldn’t even have a sin-free time of confessing my sins. I guess Jeremiah knew what he was talking about when he said that “the heart is deceitful and wicked.” So I guess I’m writing this column to ask you to pray for your pastor. I want to learn greater obedience to the Lord, and I want to experience victory over sin in my life. I want to strip off the robes of a Pharisee and get back down where those godless tax collectors gather to get a taste of God’s infinite mercy for sinners.

And while I’m thinking about it…some of you need to get down there with me.

3 thoughts on “Weekly column…

  1. Ben, Thanks for being transparent. Sometimes, we pharisees forget that other pharisees are in the same boat we are in. Thank you for reminding me that I am not alone. And thank you for reminding me that we all must continue to strive for Christlikeness. Thanks for the reminder that we are all in need of more grace, and that our Lord gives it in abundance.

  2. I just feel like noting that the “realization” and the “thinking about”, as well as the realization of the “royal mess” was all God-generated. You didn’t just happen to think of those things.

    I cling to that sort of thinking so I will have to face the fact that (A) I’m not smart enough to steer my own ship, and (B) God cares enough about me to intervene and handle the rudder, when the course needs correction. Presumably because He wants better for me than I’m willing to settle for.

    And I’ve discovered that, when I settle for less than what God has in mind, I get a lot less, even, than what I settled for.

    God bless you, brother. (You are actually substantially closer to my grandson’s age than even my younger son’s….)

  3. I really like reading your blog. Most days I come away with my thinking challenged or laughing out loud.

    Today I came away closer to the kingdom. Today I came away craving more of Jesus. Thanks

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