Sin—Just Too Hard to Swallow
by Rhonda Rhea
I microwaved my second cup of coffee this morning and couldn’t figure out why in the world it tasted like cough medicine. Granted, I’m never sure how I’m supposed to be awake enough to get my own coffee when I’ve yet to have my coffee.
Three or four sips in, I still didn’t get why it tasted so weird. Somewhere around that fifth sip, I woke up enough to remember it wasn’t my second cup of coffee. It was my first. And then another realization slowly started to sink in: I haven’t made the coffee yet this morning.
I stared at that cup of coffee for a few minutes thinking about how I’ve been gone for a few mornings and Oh my word. When did I make this coffee?
Let’s be clear. There are times when adding extra creamer isn’t going to cut it. Not even a lot of creamer. Not even if it’s caramel macchiato creamer. Cough-medicine-au-lait is never going to be anybody’s specialty drink of the day. And frankly, I’m pretty sure those first four sips were a little chewy. No wait. I think I’ll stay in denial about that for a while longer.
It’s a good reminder, though, that sin can be something like that. We don’t make life taste better by trying to flavor sin with something we think might mask its icky-ness. We don’t fix anything by excusing or rationalizing. We can’t avoid dealing with its objectionableness by distracting ourselves with something else or otherwise trying to forget about it either. What we have to do every time is just plain get rid of it. Pour it out. Get a clean cup. Start over. We confess sin, turn away from it, and go a different direction.
Facing up to our sin is anything but tasty. It’s unpleasant. Humiliating, even. But necessary. At every point we come face to face with our sin, we get a closer look at our own depravity and our surprising penchant for evil. It’s easy to deceive ourselves about our bent to sin, but this is no place for denial. When we do get a taste of our sin’s offensiveness, the revelation that we could actually be so utterly wicked can be outright devastating. It sends us into a place of mourning.
But it’s at that place of mourning that Jesus comes alongside us. When we become painfully aware of our inability to lift the tiniest finger to clean up the mess, and at the point we realize anew our complete dependence on Him to do it, He reminds us of His cross. His payment for every sin was complete. Jesus suffered unspeakable agony on that cross for sin—agony that should’ve been ours.
Remembering the inexpressibly high price of sin also reminds us to keep a short account of it. First John 1:9 reminds us that “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness,” (HCSB). Not a masking. Not a distraction. Not a denial. No, a complete cleansing. A new cup, as it were. That’s a better something to chew on every morning.
In other things to remember, making sure I’ve put on a new pot of coffee is high up there on my list for tomorrow. I’m happy to report that at least this morning’s coffee didn’t make me sick. As a matter of fact, I haven’t coughed once all day.