Yesterday was one of those times. We heard about a woman who was murdered right in our quiet neighborhood. We live in Otter Creek which is a community on the southwest corner of Little Rock. Little Rock has one of the highest crime rates per-capita in the United States. Yet, though we’ve had some reports of break ins, muggings and some other minor incidents, it’s a relatively friendly and quiet neighborhood. Until yesterday.
We don’t know the details of the murder and whether it was a random act of violence or if the woman knew her assassins. Knowing that might make us all feel either a little less concerned or more. However, there is one thing that came to my mind.
It’s so easy for me in light of this to think, “what a CRAZY, MIXED-UP world we live in with such violent and wicked people OUT THERE who would do such a thing”. Then, I’m reminded…but for the grace of God, there go I. It’s easy for all of us, I think, to say to ourselves, “at least I’m not THAT bad”. But, there lies the problem. We determine our own goodness or lack thereof COMPARED to others. Yet, if we compare ourselves to God’s standard and His Word, “We have all sinned and fall short of the glory of God”. Jesus told the Pharisees that if you’ve even had a THOUGHT of hatred or anger toward another, you are as guilty as the person who murdered this young mother. I’m not trying to trivialize the pain or suffering this family is going through. I simply am reminded once again how sin has not only captured this murderer’s soul, if not for Christ’s saving work on the cross, it has captured mine as well.
The kind of sin that God refers to in the above references is sin that entered our soul through the fall of mankind when Adam and Eve rebelled against God. Need any proof…just watch a very young child lose their temper and do things that they have never seen modeled. It’s in their soul. So, just as there is nothing that we DID to sin against God (we inherited it), therefore there is nothing we can DO to eradicate it. Only one who didn’t inherit it could pay the price of sin that can’t be paid by good works. That’s what Jesus did on the Cross. He paid the price of a sin I could do nothing about. THAT’S GRACE! So, when I hear of these heinous crimes and feel compassion for the families I’m reminded of the pain our God feels when he sees us commit those same crimes against each other because that sin was too close to home…the rebellion of his own creation.
Please, today stop and pray for this family as they weep the loss of a mother, wife, sister, friend and family member. Then, do some reflection about the state of your soul. Is the sin within you paid for? Our comparison is not against one another…we have ALL sinned…our comparison is against a mighty, loving and Holy God. We can’t stack up against that on our own and through our own righteousness. It’s only through the righteousness that Christ imparted to us on the cross that we can stand without sin before God. So, for me, sin is never out there. It’s always too close to home.