DEAR BILLY GRAHAM: My friend says he doesn’t need to confess his sins very often, because he keeps a mental checklist of his actions and believes that he seldom sins. Do you think he’s right? — M.M.
DEAR M.M.: Your friend may sincerely believe this about himself, but he is not correct. A friend of mine met someone like this once, and later his wife whispered to him, “Just ask me how perfect he is!”
One problem is that your friend seems to have a shallow view of sin. Yes, he has a list, and it probably includes most of the things we rightly label as sins. But what about the sins we overlook, such as evil thoughts or wrong motives?
Jesus was concerned not only with what we do but with what goes on inside us. Or what about the things we fail to do — showing compassion to others, helping those who are hurting, witnessing for Christ? The Psalmist prayed, “Who can discern their own errors? Forgive my hidden faults” (Psalm 19:12).
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Your friend concerns me for another reason, however. When we fail to realize how sinful we are, pride takes over, and pride is a sin. Jesus condemned those who believed they were more righteous than anyone else, because they were blinded by their own pride.
But pride not only blinds us to our sin, it also blinds us to our need for Christ and his forgiveness. The Bible warns, “In his pride the wicked man does not seek him; in all his thoughts there is no room for God” (Psalm 10:4).
Be honest about your own sins and turn to Christ for the forgiveness you need. Then pray for your friend, that he too will realize the depth of his sin and the even greater depth of Christ’s mercy and love.
Write “My Answer,” Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, 1 Billy Graham Parkway, Charlotte, NC 28201; or go to BillyGraham.org.
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