It can be very easy to judge sin in other people. When a man is unfaithful to his wife or when a woman beats up a child, it is easy to wonder what would make someone act in that way. “What is wrong with them?” we think. Adultery and abuse are sins that destroy many people’s lives. But what many of us don’t know is that the root of those things, the beginning, lies within all of us.
We can read in Psalm 143:2 (BBE), “For no man living is upright in your eyes,” and again in 1 John 1:8 (NCV), “If we say we have no sin, we are fooling ourselves, and the truth is not in us.” Therefore, we understand that all of us have sin, that is, it is part of our human nature to want to sin.
“What human nature does is quite plain. It shows itself in immoral, filthy, and indecent actions; in worship of idols and witchcraft. People become enemies and they fight; they become jealous, angry, and ambitious.” Galatians 5:19-20 (GNB). In another Bible translation these are called “the works of the flesh”.
A desire to sin
We all have a desire in our human nature to do sin. It is a part of us. It is very natural to be jealous, to be angry, to lust after a man or a woman. And when we give in to these natural desires, we agree that it is okay to sin, and the sin will show in our thoughts and actions. We can go so far as to trick ourselves into thinking that things are not sin. “It’s too small to matter,” or “it doesn’t really feel that wrong.” As our lives go on and we don’t stop those sins from the first moment we become aware that we are tempted to them, we become trapped in lust, anger, jealousy, fighting, etc. What started out as “just a little thing; it’s not that bad,” is now adultery, a lifelong bitterness towards someone, violent behaviour, or an addiction. Like Jesus, we need to say no to these sins the moment we see them, and we should not allow our own reasoning or Satan to get us away from what is written in God’s Word. Then the temptations never get the chance to become sin in our bodies and in our lives.
We are not meant to become trapped in all kinds of sin. “Do not let sin control the way you live; do not give in to sinful desires.” Romans 6:12 (NLT). Paul writes very clearly that when we give in to sin, then we become slaves of sin. But to become free from this slavery, we must first hate sin. We have to think the same way David did. “Lord, I hate … I hate those who rise up against you. I feel only hate for them; they are my enemies.” Psalm 139:21-22 (NCV.) For us the enemies are the sins that I see in my own human nature. To hate them is not easy, because sin is human; it is a part of us. This is why so many people never become free from adultery, fighting and anger; sin is so much part of us that we cannot naturally hate it.
But we do not need to stay “natural” and “human”, we can change, we are meant to become godly. “… so that through them you may come to share in the divine [godly] nature, after escaping from the corruption that is in the world because of evil desire.” 2 Peter 1:4 (NABRE). When we see our own sin, we can pray to God for help to hate it. Hating the sin we see in ourselves is the first step on the way to becoming free from this sin. Then we need to pray for faith to fight against the sin that we hate, so it will not have control over our lives and the lives of those around us. We become less “human” and more like Jesus. Instead of becoming unhappy and destroying our lives and the lives of those around us, we can be a blessing during our time here on earth.
“But the path of the righteous is like the light of dawn, which shines brighter and brighter until full day.” Proverbs 4:18 (ESV).