The challenge with the Christian faith is that, the longer you are in it, the easier it is to lose sight of its immense wonder if you’re not careful. You can get into the “motions” of church, the habits, colloquialisms, and traditions, and end up missing the awe-inspiring gift of Jesus. You can learn enough doctrine to begin measuring the righteousness of others against it, only to find that no one measures up.
This is why my recent study through the book of 1 Timothy re-ignited my own sense of awe. You see, as a preacher, I often teach in second or third person; “you,” “they,” “her,” “him.” But the Word of God is a first-person experience. “I,” “me,” “my.” The Apostle Paul, arguably the most prolific and impactful Apostle in history, could easily pass judgment on others due to their sin and he certainly does so throughout scripture. But this verse strikes me as the most powerful indictment of all.
We are so quick to point the finger at others for their sin. We are so quick to identify the problem as being outside of ourselves. But the heart of humility is knowing that, when Christ came into the world to save sinners, he had my name at the top of the list. Nona Celestine Collins Jones. There is nothing I could point to in you that absolves me of the mess within me. And, because of that, I am simply grateful.
The Apostle Paul’s acknowledgement that, of all sinners who needing saving, he was the worst, is a powerful admission of truth. The grace of God saw my name at the top of that list of sinners, but wrote the word “worthy” over it in the red ink of Jesus’ blood. I have no room to judge anyone else; I can only point them to the same cross upon which my own sin was crucified. May we extend that same grace to the lost and hurting in our own lives.