Call It What It Is
By Dot Bowen
Then the LORD God said to the woman, "What is this that you have done?" The woman said, "The serpent deceived me, and I ate." Genesis 3:13 (NIV)
When I was young, I enjoyed using the phrase, “The devil made me do it!” I used this expression when I was caught doing something wrong, but my parents didn’t really find my comment so funny. I didn’t realize until later that God didn’t find it funny when Eve blamed Satan for her disobedience either. Just as it didn’t work for me with my parents, neither did it work for Adam and Eve with their Father; we both reaped the consequences of our sin. I didn’t get thrown out of my house like Adam and Eve, but my decisions changed the direction of my life. Have you noticed when we are in the midst of reaping the consequences of our bad decisions we have a different view of what we should have done? But after the pain goes away, we forget and often find ourselves doing the same thing over again.
Many books and articles have been written on the subject of why we continue to do the very thing we don’t want to do. And trust me, I have read almost all of them looking for an excuse or someone to blame for my wrong behavior or attitude. It was not until I heard Martha Kilpatrick say, ”When you sin, call it sin and confess to God you have sinned.” As simple as this may seem, it is very difficult to do. Mainly because we don’t want to think negatively about ourselves and prefer to blame someone else for our actions or attitudes. But when we are truthful with ourselves regarding what we have done, we find forgiveness and freedom. We experience forgiveness from God and the freedom to stop doing the things we know not to do. I use the word freedom because often we excuse our behavior by saying, I am free to act however I want, instead of saying I’m free not to behave this way. As long as we excuse our behavior, we will never see the damaging effects of our behavior.
Paul said it this way: “The wages of sin is death.” (Romans 6:23) When sin is present, something dies. Whether it’s a relationship or our self-worth, sin destroys. Until we call it what it is, we cannot begin the process of replacing sinful behavior with Godly obedience. When I do the very thing I wish I would not do, I tell God I have sinned against Him and ask for forgiveness. When I find myself praying and taking time to confess the sinful thoughts that come to mind and words that come out of my mouth, it makes a difference! Trust me, this is not negative self-talk, but an awareness of God’s love and grace toward me. John, the beloved disciple of Jesus, said “If we confess our sins, He is able to forgive us from our sin.” (1 John 1:9) As I live daily in the awareness of God’s forgiveness, it’s easier to forgive myself and forgive others when they have wronged me.
If I don’t acknowledge my sin, why is there reason to seek forgiveness? Forgiveness and freedom go hand in hand. If you find yourself thinking, I don’t think what I do is sin; it’s just a weakness or a blind spot, then let me remind you once again of James 4:17. James tells us, “So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin.” Ouch! Have you ever chosen not to do the right thing when you knew the right thing to do? Let’s just call it what it is. It is S-I-N. SIN! It’s time to stop blaming others when we sin. Time to stop doing the very things we know not to do, and time to start confessing our sins to God. Think about how much energy it takes to justify our wrong behavior. Jesus died to forgive us of our sin, but until we confess our sins, we will never enjoy the forgiveness He bought for us with His own life. Call sin what it is—SIN. That alone will allow us to be the person Jesus died to free!
Further Reading Genesis 3; Psalm 32:5; Psalm 38:18; James 4:17; James 1:15; Romans 6:23; Romans 7:23; 1 John 1:9-10