St. Paul has at times been described as ambitious, bold, and even boastful. By his own admission he was arrogant. Paul asserts that he was foremost among sinners. But wait just a dog gone minute, I thought I was chief among sinners, and if you are honest with yourself I’ll bet there have been times in your life that you have thought that you were chief among sinners. So just who is number one? Is it Paul, is it me, or is it you? Who is the biggest sinner? Simply stated, it doesn’t matter.
We all know, as the Bible tells us in Rom 3:23 “all have sinned and are deprived of the glory of God,” but for some unknown reason in our conscience we feel it necessary to compete for the number one spot. We see ourselves as the one unique person whose sins are unforgiveable.Catholic author and speaker Matthew Kelly during one of his talks shares a humorous but revealing story. He tells about asking a man why he doesn’t go to confession. The man responds by saying “I couldn’t possibly tell my sins to that priest.”Matthew replies “get over yourself, your sins are just not that original.”
Maybe in a bizarre twist of pride we convince ourselves that our sins must be unique and the worst of all sins.Examine this passage from 1 Timothy 1: 13-17: “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners. Of these I am the foremost. But for that reason I was mercifully treated, so that in me, as the foremost, Christ Jesus might display all his patience as an example for those who would come to believe in him for everlasting life.”A close reading of this passage reveals that Jesus came to save sinners and that He can use us, as sinners and the mercy He shows towards us, as an example to bring others to himself. If we are to be an example, others need to know our story.Back in the days when Jesus was still walking this earth the Pharisees could not understand why He would possibly be seen with sinners. Here is what Luke 15:2tells us: “but the Pharisees and scribes began to complain, saying, “This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.”
Reading further in Luke’s Gospel we see this Luke 19:10: “For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save what was lost.”I recently came across this statement online: “It is only those things that are hidden in darkness that have power over us.” There are two key things that cause us to keep silent about our struggles and prevent us from acknowledging the sin in our life, they are prideand shame. These two, in tandem area dangerous combination and cause us to keep our lips sealed. We don’t want others to see our flaws. Our secular world tells us to suck it up when we have something wrong. In our spiritual life, this is exactly what Satan would like us to do, because then he can rule the darkness.
As Christians we need to bring our hurts, pains, struggles and sins to the light of day. We need a trusted confidant to share with. James 5:16 tells us; “Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed“. When we bring our issues out of the darkness and willingly admit our personal struggles then two very important things happen.
- We experience the healing mercy of Jesus Christ
- We can also become an exampleto others. We can tell others about how we experienced Christ’s healing touch and His mercy and in doing so; we can draw them to our Lord and His mercy.
Back on October 2, 2012 I wrote a 4thdayletter entitled THE BROKEN DOOR which, to this day, is the only 4thdayletter that God placed on my heart in a parable. This parable is again applicable to today’s topic. The parable describes us as a broken door.The parable explanation goes like this:”Now comes the challenging part. We cannot, we must not, wait until the door is perfect before inviting others into our life to meet Jesus who dwells within. That we need to work on our door is true. The weathering and deterioration of the door is the sin in our life. The rain of selfishness, the wind of worldly concerns will always beat on our door. But if we wait for perfection, we will deny others the opportunity to meet Jesus. And it is through Jesus that we bring others to God. Jesus calls us as we are-broken-to be the door through which others can enter to meet Him.”
Friends we are imperfect creatures, you don’t need me to tell you that. The problem is that too often we want to act like we are not. If we were perfect we would not need to be saved and we would deny the need for Jesus Christ. We might not be the number one sinner, but we could still use the help of others if we are hiding our hurts, pains, struggles and sins in the dark. Open yourself up and allow someone else to share the light of Christ with you today. Allow the mercy which Christ has shown to you to be an example to someone else. Tell your story. We must not forget that even if we are the number one sinner, Jesus Christ in the NUMBER ONE SAVIOR! Amen! There is no sin He can’t forgive.Jesus you are my number one, give me the courage to tell others what you have done for me, amen.