In the Christian tradition there is a strong element of confession of sins, indeed awareness of sin, might we say sin-consciousness? And in its place it is indeed important. In fact the more light comes in, the more aware we are of darkness as in dark and hidden places. In this metaphor God’s light exposes our darkness so that the sin that is present becomes clear. And of course we’re to confess our sins to God, knowing that in Jesus Christ we are then indeed forgiven. That is good.
Depending on our upbringing and a host of other factors, we may wear the badge of sinfulness all too well. And when we do we tend not only to accentuate what is wrong in us, but what we perceive is wrong with others, as well. There is a kind of projection that often occurs, so that if I’m struggling with such and such a sin, I may wrongly assume others are when they are not, their sin issue being something different.
But what about seeing the good in one’s life, and in the lives of others? We struggle in this life due to a host of factors, not the least being our sin. So that whatever good is present is buried in the rubbish that we’re all too aware of. Now in saying this, I don’t want to lose the importance of being aware of our sin and confessing it. That is essential for our life in Jesus.
We need to see the gift of good through God’s grace in Jesus at work in our lives, and in the lives of others. And we need to express our appreciation to others for the good acts they do, which actually glorify the Father. Just as faithfully in meekness helping someone see their sin so as to restore them is sometimes necessary, so seeing God’s good work in another person and expressing that to them can be a source of encouragement for them, as well as helping them recognize the same.
This certainly does not mean we’re to leave conviction and confession of sin behind. But it certainly does mean that we need to develop an awareness for God’s goodness at work in our lives and the change that is bringing.
Yesterday I was encouraged by a brother who spoke kind words of the goodness he sees in my own life. And although I know I am often tempted or overcome so as to be tainted with sin, his words helped me see the truth of God’s working in my life. In that working is our work as well, but all we accomplish is really the work of God’s hands, as the psalmist says.
We need to develop that awareness when we see ourselves and others. This is a matter of seeing God’s grace at work in people’s lives. Yes, we all will be tempted by pride, and may even be overcome for a time, an ever present danger. But God works to humble us to see that all the good we have and are is a gift from him.
We can see that gift all over the world, both through common grace, as well as through the gift present in and through Jesus. Let’s be aware and express that good, that others may see God’s goodness in their lives, and come to know the ultimate good in Jesus. As together we grow in and live out that goodness in and through Jesus for the world.