While we’ve been on the subject of sin we might as well talk about how we respond when we do sin. Here are 5 things you should do when you blow it!
5 Things To Do When You’ve Sinned
OK. You’ve screwed up. Perhaps what has happened has proven (to your mind) that you are the scum of the earth; the worst possible person in the world. Maybe you’re thinking that there is no possible way that you can be forgiven for this horrible crime you have been caught up in. Perhaps lust has lead to infidelity. Perhaps jealousy has lead to theft. Perhaps your integrity has been tested and you have been found wanting. Whatever the transgression you find yourself in, this article is for you. Here are five things to do when you blow it.
1. Remember that you can’t blow it.
First the Good News. If you truly have surrendered to faith in Jesus Christ, you are positionally perfect. This truth is completely evident throughout scripture, but let’s just examine a couple of passages together.
“1 There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. 2 For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death” (Romans 8: 1-3)
Romans is Paul’s theology book. Its purpose is to tell us that we can’t hack it, and that’s the very reason Christ died for us. When you first believed and were indwelled by His Holy Spirit, you were set free from the damning penalty of sin. The grace that God extends to you through the sacrifice of His Son covered your sins; the past, present, and future. The truth is, you cannot out-sin God’s grace!
Let’s look at this in another way. When God looks at you, he doesn’t see you in all of your sinful glory. He sees His Son. He sees perfection. Really, He sees his own son or daughter.
“God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure”( Eph. 1:5, NLT)
When a son or daughter messes up, he/she doesn’t cease to be in the family. There may be collateral damage, there may be anger and chastisement from the father, but there is nothing that removes the child from the family. A good father will always love his son/daughter. And God is a good father!
I am not advocating “cheap grace” here. Some of you might be thinking, “So, you’re saying that I can do whatever I want to do and God will just look over it?!” My answer to that question is simply yes. But what do you “want” to do? You see, if you truly have surrendered in faith to Christ, then He changes you into something different, a “new creation” (2. Cor. 5). BUT this doesn’t mean that you won’t sin again. The truth is as long as you remain in this physical body you will sin, and sometimes that sin may be “great.” But don’t ever think that your sin is greater than your Savior. Don’t wallow in your self-pity, or except your sin. Instead, having faith in His Grace, remind yourself that you are free to fight it! These next few points will give you some direction in this matter.
2. Don’t Isolate!
This is a major key to victory after the storm. Yet this point is so easily glanced over, and the opposite is sadly encouraged in our modern Christian culture. You will be afraid of judgement, and you have a right to be. It has been said that the church is the only institution that shoots its own wounded. Too often we forget Paul’s admonition to “Bear one another’s burdens” (Gal. 6). Even more, we turn our church meetings into a hotbed of judgement, backbiting, slander, and gossip. So much so that they resemble the iconic scene from Monty Python’s Holy Grail where the villagers are hankering for a witch burning.
But the Christian will fail in isolation. The simple fact is that we need each other to thrive. Scripture points to this fact so often. Proverbs tells us that a man who isolates seeks his own desires (Proverbs 18). We read that
“Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble” (Eccl. 4:9-10)
Find accountability that you can be open and honest with. This is a very important part of accountability and needs to be the main focus when picking someone to hold you accountable. You need to trust this person or persons with every detail of your struggle.
1 John lays this truth out so brilliantly.
“This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin” (1 John 1 5-7)
There are a couple of things to notice in this passage. First, notice that the light is a revealing thing. It reveals the heart of the man, or “sheds light” on the one who is open and honest. Secondly, notice that those “walking in the light” are receiving forgiveness for their sins (see point one) and in FELLOWSHIP WITH ONE ANOTHER! This is a picture of a Christian openly revealing who they are so that they can continue walking in righteousness!
So again, find someone you know who will pray for you, encourage you, and listen to you. You need someone who is willing to walk through the mire and muck; someone who will lovingly hold you to a righteous standard.
3. Learn as much as you can about why you failed
Now is the time to get real. Spend time in prayer, bible study, and in discussion with your accountability. Discover the reasons why you are struggling with whatever you are struggling with. This is an important step that many evangelicals seem to glance over. “You are a sinner, so therefore, you will sin. So, you know, just STOP SINNING!”
Something I found out when I finally broke down and went to a therapist, was that there are actual reasons that drove me to the vice I was pursuing. In order to truly root out the sin in my life, I needed to discover the reasons and thinking behind the sin. Many times, sin is a cycle. We will cover that in step five. The point here is that you need to focus and learn about what drives you to blow it. Once you have analyzed and discovered these patterns, you can begin to change the behavior.
4. Don’t fall back into the pit
Once you blow it, It is easy to begin thinking to yourself that there is no point in stopping the sin. This is a lie from the pit, and will lead to nothing but further complications. This defeatist attitude is somewhat natural to everyone. There is also a danger of relapse while examining why you failed in the first place. This is why step two and five are so important. Remind yourself of who you are in Christ. Remind yourself of the truth that you are a child of the king as well as a new creation. Boldly begin following the Spirit by removing the things in your life which cause you to fail. Sin is a sticky trap! The more you wallow, the more you become stuck. The key is to stop wallowing in your grief of failure and to press on towards righteousness.
5. Take every thought captive
This is perhaps the most practical step for killing sin. Sin begins in the mind. It begins with a thought, a desire, or a craving. Think of it this way. Your mind is a field, and sin is a seed. It begins small as it becomes planted in your mind. If not rooted out, sin takes root. It then begins to spring up into action. When it is full grown, it produces more sin. The key to stopping sin is to dig it up before it has a chance to spring up. It’s much easier to remove a seed then it is to remove a full grown tree. Remove the seeds by changing the seeds. Plant wholesome truth in your mind, not rubbish. The result will be a stifling effect on sin. Paul calls this “Taking every thought captive” (2 Cor. 10:5).
For more about sin, check out Episode 95!