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One of the hardest parts of living the Christian life is honesty. When I talk about honesty I am not so much talking about lying about things as mislabeling things.

Let me give you an example. I have been sick with some strange bug for a few days now. In the midst of this I have noticed far more grumpiness, shortness and impatience. I also feel lazy and a lot of self-pity. During this time I found myself not speaking with the appropriate tone and tenderness to some people close to me. Shortly thereafter I went to talk to them about it. My aim was an apology through confession and repentance.

But what happened? I gave them something like this:

I’m sorry for my tone yesterday. I have been sick and grumpy lately. I haven’t really been able to sleep and so I’m a little short.

As I was talking I remembered that I was convicted of sin but yet I am confessing the symptoms and implications of my illness. It is not a sin to be sick or to not get enough sleep. But, it is sin to be unkind and impatient.

I suspect that many people can identify with this struggle with honestly calling sin what it is. Many of us like to take a swing at people who label behavior as some sort of medical issue instead of calling it what it truly is. However, this is exactly what we do when we put a label on our actions which mitigates the sting of our own sin.

The most sobering part of this is fighting out of the foggy apology and shining the light of biblical truth on the action. I speak and act out of the abundance of my heart. I think, act, and am who I am. And so do you.

Living in light of the gospel means that we live as people who have been honest about our sin and our need for Christ. We are sinners who still sin. Therefore, it is right, albeit uncomfortable, to call it what God calls it and deal with it how God would have you to deal with it. This is not easy, but it seems to be the way to live as a Christian honestly.

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8 thoughts on “Call It What God Calls It.”

  1. Clyde says:

    Thanks Erik for your own thoughfulness. Our flesh loves to minimize our faults and gloss over our problems while we are so sensitive to sin that we observe in others. Our church communities are strengthened when we admit how weak we are and how much we need the cross .

    1. Erik says:

      I think you are dead on about the strengthening of the churches Clyde. It is troubling to think through the implications of our pretending.

  2. Gary says:

    i’m just considering a few occsions recently when i’ve done exactly the same. It’s not so easy to say “i was a grumpy sinful hallion and sinned against God & you . . .” when the ‘tired’ card saves a little bit of face.

    Thanks for the reminder to be honest regardless

  3. Eliza Huie says:

    Guilty. I do find that when I am more accurate to “call it what God calls it” others are very willing to forgive. Anyone can smell a cop-out I guess.
    Thanks for writing.

  4. Pastor Matt says:

    Well said! Will link to this site later in the week. Blessings,

  5. You hit the nail on the head. We can feel better about ourselves if we blame outside circumstances for our sin (the flu, the boss, the weather, …). But the real problem–our sin–remains inside us, not external to us. Our only hope is bringing the Savior in there, to get to the root of the problem, not changing our circumstances. So let’s call it what it is. Amen.

  6. Erik says:

    glad to hear the article is helpful for you guys. the gospel is so simple but living in response to it is…well…not so simple.

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Erik Raymond

Erik Raymond is senior pastor of Emmaus Bible Church in Omaha, Ne. He and his wife Christie have six children. You can follow him on Twitter.

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