In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth.
Recently I walked into church with a tear in my pants. I thought I had felt a cool breeze walking into the building but wasn’t sure why until someone told me, “You have a tear on the back of your pants, and, it’s pretty bad.” I went to the bathroom to check out the damage, and, it was pretty bad. One of the back pockets on my khakis was practically torn off.
People I’ve shared this story with have asked me how I didn’t notice this (I do indeed dress myself). I have no clue. Let’s move on. I still needed to work on this Sunday morning so I had to figure out a strategy for interacting with people with a huge hole in my pants. I found a corner I could back into while I bought some time and assessed the situation. First I decided that I would cover my rear with a manila folder. This was pretty awkward. It worked until I had to use both of my hands. I also looked ridiculous. I then realized that I had an option that only looked mildly ridiculous. I made the hard decision of sporting a look that was in style for a short period of time in high school: the cardigan-around-the-waist look.
It’s hard to cover up a huge rip in your pants. It’s even harder to cover up sin. We all have participated in something worthy of shame. How do you cover that up?
When Adam and Eve sinned against God for the first time, they felt their nakedness. God was gracious in providing a covering for His loved creation. This covering, as comforting as it might have been, didn’t fix their problems. The issue of sin had to be dealt with completely. A simple cover-up wouldn’t fix it.
This is why Jesus died and rose for us. We didn’t need a cover-up, we needed to be made new. This is what we celebrate with Easter. We are now alive in Christ. Our sins do not define who we are any longer.
So what do we do when we are tempted to grab for the metaphorical manila folder or the cardigan to cover up our sin? Luther would tell us to do two things.
First, call a thing what it is. Sin is sin. When we act like some sin we’ve committed isn’t sin, we turn it into something that we can handle on our own and this is dangerous. Even though sometimes we act like experts at it, we stink at sin management. Don’t even try. It’s hard to expose sin for what it is when it’s our sin, but calling something what it is takes away its power over us and this is necessary to get to the next step.
Second, put your sin on Christ. Confess your sin to God and know the power of the cross of Jesus Christ. Why would you even attempt a cover up when your God died for your sins? Don’t turn away from your salvation when you feel the full weight of your sin – put it on Christ.
My prayer for you is that even while you struggle with sin, you might know that this sin has been taken care of by Jesus’s work on the cross and the empty tomb. May you lift your head up every day knowing that you can take each step without shame.