“for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.” Romans 3:23-24
In 1812, a Massachusetts governor named Elbridge Gerry redrew his district to favor his reelection. The oddly shaped district looked a bit like a salamander, causing a Boston Gazette reporter to dub the process ‘gerrymandering’. This dubious practice proved so successful that it is still in use today. Politicians in power fence in certain districts that support their positions, and effectively ignore other positions. Good people generally despise this practice in politics. But these same good people are doing this every day in their personal lives.
We gerrymander our sins. We draw lines around the ones that we consider to be ‘real’ sins, while ignoring others. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Some sins, like addictions and harmful relationships, need to be dealt with immediately because they can affect our health. We triage the sins that are most detrimental to our lives, and, with God’s grace, work on the most harmful ones first. If you’ve got a finger scratch and a leg wound, it’s best to address the leg wound before scratch. There’s nothing wrong with this.
But here’s the thing: to God, sin is sin. We can temporarily fence it off, believing that some sins are more destructive than others, but Jesus knows that they are all connected. Finger scratches, left untreated, can fester into something just as deadly as a leg wound. And even a slight slippage from God’s word can start you down a path that can lead to a dark and lonely place.
Years ago I lived a lifestyle that was perfectly acceptable and even encouraged by the World. Though I was a Christian who loved Jesus, I’d never read the Bible—just relied on little quotations here and there. I considered myself a ‘good person’, and was perplexed as to why my life seemed unfulfilled. It wasn’t until I actually started to read scripture for myself that God gently showed me the truth about what my choices were doing to me, and others. I’d ‘gerrymandered’ my sin into a place where I didn’t have to look at it, but where it had begun to fester.
We’re all sinners. We’ve all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. But God knows this, and loves us just the same. He wants to heal us from all our sins, even the ones we keep out of sight behind our gerrymandered walls. Confessing these sins to a Christian friend, or to one of the prayer ministers at the Healing Ministry is a great way to start the cleansing process.
Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective. James 5:16