Eza 9:15 O Lord, the God of Israel, you are just, for we are left a remnant that has escaped, as it is today. Behold, we are before you in our guilt, for none can stand before you because of this." (ESV)
Ezra becomes aware that the leaders of Israel, along with others, have married pagan wives. He is immediately broken over this sin, tearing his clothes, tearing his hair and sitting stunned over their sin. These are signs of brokenness, humility and fasting. Ezra grieves this sin.
How do we address sin in our lives? Too often we are angry at the sins of others, while quickly excusing our own transgressions. They are usually referred to as mistakes, poor judgment, or weaknesses, but rarely sin. How would things be different if we grieved the sins of others and admitted our own? What if we recognized that our sins and those of our brother/sister affect the whole body of Christ?
Ezra understood that Israel was in captivity because of sin. He recognized that God had graciously allowed them an opportunity to rebuild. This sin threatened that. This was why they had been in captivity in the first place. They were right back where they had started. This was not about sinning against other people. This was an offense against the God who had just graciously and abundantly brought them home.
David understood this. When he sinned with Bathsheba and had her husband Uriah killed he confessed to God, "Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight..." (PS 51:4a ESV) How can he say that? Hadn't he sinned against Uriah? Hadn't he sinned against Bathsheba? Hadn't he sinned against Joab by commanding him to place Uriah in a position where he would be killed? But, David understood that ultimately sin is about God.
We forget that. We tend to think that sin is about us. We tend to think that the sins of others are about those they have hurt. We tend to think that private sins that no one sees are private. But ultimately sin is about the nature and character of God and his creation. Every sin we commit distorts the image of God in us. Every sin turns the order of creation wrong side up. Every sin public or private affects everyone around us. Sin is a big deal. Every sin should lead us to brokenness and grief. It is time we stopped making excuses and recognized the destructive power of sin.
Father, forgive me for playing God by trying to punish others for their sins while excusing my own. May my heart break along with yours over sin.
By His grace,