Naming It For What It Is—sin - The One Year Book of Hope

Naming It For What It Is—sin

Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of malicious behavior. Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you. Ephesians 4:31-32

I was by myself in a beautiful hotel, awake in the middle of the night—again. Once again I found myself too worked up by my mental rehearsal of the wrongs done against me to sleep, too intent on rehearsing my confrontation so that those who hurt me would know how much pain they had inflicted. But it was different this time. That night, the Holy Spirit inside me captured my attention and convicted me, revealing to me that my “issues” and “emotional baggage” were really unforgiveness. More pointedly, they were sin. That night I heard God calling me to repent. I realized I needed to stop tending my hurt and begin to get rid of the bitterness in my life if I ever wanted to move forward with God.

I’ve tried to forgive,” I said to God. “I can’t do it on my own. But that night I asked God to meet me. I told him I would take steps of obedience toward him, away from my resentment, and I asked him to meet me at every step to change my feelings, which seemed impossible to me.

A few days later the phone rang. This was my first chance to live out my repentance. Instead of being cold, I was kind. Instead of being indifferent, I was interested. As I hung up the phone, tears stung my eyes, but it felt good—like a load was beginning to lift. God met me that day and in the days that followed as I started down the long path toward freedom, away from unforgiveness. No longer was I intent on making them pay, not because they didn’t owe me but because I was canceling the debt. I even began to let go of my need for them to be sorry and my expectations that they would change. This meant reckoning with the fact that they might hurt me again, even repeatedly. But if they have, I’ve hardly noticed. I’m not so sensitive anymore.

Is it time that you name your unwillingness to forgive for what it really is—sin? Can you see that the longer you make it about someone else, the further your resentment takes you away from God? Turn away from your sin of unforgiveness, and turn toward God. He will empower you to forgive.

Holy Spirit, Freedom Giver, I can see that this is not about what someone else has done to me, but about my sin against you. I repent of my unforgiveness, and I want to walk in obedience. But I can’t do this on my own. Will you meet me? Change my feelings, diffuse the tension, and set me free.


What does Psalm 51 teach us about how to respond to conviction of sin?

From the Book: