The following is from Respectable sins: confronting the sins we tolerate by Jerry Bridges.
The Bible has a word for conduct unbecoming a saint. It is sin. And just as ‘conduct unbecoming an officer’ covers a wide range of misconduct, so the word sin covers a wide range of misbehavior. It covers everything from gossip to adultery, from impatience to murder. Obviously, there are degrees of seriousness of sin. But in the final analysis, sin is sin. It is conduct unbecoming of a saint.
One of our problems, however, is that we neither think of ourselves as saints –with our new state’s concurrent responsibility to live as saints—nor do we think of such actions as our gossip and impatience as sin. Sin is what people outside of our Christians communities do. We can readily identify sin as the immoral or unethical conduct of people in society at large. But we often fail to see it in what I call the ‘acceptable sins of the saints.’ In effect, we like society at large, live in denial of our sin. So now let’s move on to talk about sin and our frequent denial of it in our lives.
Without turning this into a blow-by-blow book report, I want to paint with broad strokes the way he builds his thesis. Bridges walks the fine line between the depressing pervasiveness of sin and the hope (and continued need) of the gospel for all, not just “those sinners out there”. After laying this foundation, he doesn’t hold any punches as writes chapters on:
- Anxiety and Frustration
- Lack of Self-Control
- Impatience and Irritability
- The Weeds of Anger
- Envy, Jealousy, and Related Sins
- Sins of the Tongue and
I don’t know about you, but I’m guessing that like me, you see yourself all over this list. Unlike other messages that are popular at the moment, Bridges consistently reminded me that (____fill in the blank _____) is … a sin. Yes, frustrating/disappointing/hurtful/ unfair things are going to happen, but how quickly do I let myself sin in my response and justify it because is it frustrating/disappointing/hurtful or unfair? This book really challenged me. If you are one to do New Year’s Resolutions, this year just buy this book and spent a month on each chapter. Though I don’t know how it will be used in your life, what I do know is this is the kind of book that can change more than just the next year of your life. I expect to see footprints from this –and future—reads for the rest of my days. Jerry, thank you for caring enough to call me on my so-called “respectability”.