Everyone knows that it is always easier to see the faults of others than our own. This is true with sin also. In fact, not only is it easier to see other people’s sin, it is easier to hate other people’s sin more than our own. As a result, we can often be very bothered by the sin of others and even “seek prayer” (aka gossip) about their sin much quicker than we are to confess and seek prayer for our own sin. However, I have recently been thinking about the fact that the sin the Lord wants me to hate most is my own.
In fact, the New Testament speaks very directly about the degree to which we are supposed to hate our own sin. Below are only a few examples.
In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus says: “If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body be thrown into hell. And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body go into hell,” (Matthew 5:29-30).
In the book of Romans, Paul exhorts his readers in this way: “For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live,” (Romans 8:13).
Later in the same letter, Paul tells the church to: “Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good,” (Romans 12:9).
Of course, this hatred for sin that Jesus and Paul display falls directly in line with God the Father’s hatred for sin: “For you are not a God who delights in wickedness; evil may not dwell with you. The boastful shall not stand before your eyes; you hate all evildoers,” (Psalm 5:4-5).
All this is not to say that we are not to approach our brothers and sisters in Christ regarding their sin with a heart to restore them to the way of the Lord. The Bible is clear that we are do that very thing (Galatians 6:1).
On the other hand, the sin that we must be most vigilant about killing is our own. To make this point Jesus and Paul use some very striking language, words like: “tear it out and throw it away”, “cut it off and throw it away”, “put to death”, and “abhor”. Nonetheless, we do not see this type of severe terminology in passages that instruct us to approach others about their sin. Why is that? Well, Scripture does not tell us but it probably has something to do with the fact that God is most interested in us killing our own sin rather than the sin of others. To this point, Jesus tells us that even before we approach others regarding their sin, we must first search ourselves in an effort to get rid of any sin we may have that might have contributed to the situation (Matthew 7:5).
Thus, may we pray that the Lord would give us the greatest hatred for our own sin and the desire to find it and kill it so that we may walk in closer fellowship with Him and others.