Jesus said that outsiders will know that we are His disciples by our love. So how do we welcome and cultivate God’s love in a way that goes beyond just being friendly and polite? How do we become a people who are known for our sacrificial love?
Well, a great way to fuel big love is to pray four short prayers which build on each other. If you recall, the first prayer was that God would open our eyes so that we can truly see God as God. The first step in loving big is to see God as God, not as anything less than God. The second prayer is this:
God, open my eyes so that I can see sin as sinful.
Do you remember as a kid being told by your parents to apologize for this or that? Sometimes cornered kids can be evasive or forgetful or even just clueless, and they can answer by saying, “What did I do?” After they heard you say, “What did I do?” how did your parents respond? My guess is that they stood there looking exasperated and said something like, “What do you mean, ‘What did I do?!’ You hear your little brother crying, don’t you?!”
“Do you remember as a kid being told by your parents to apologize for this or that?”
But there have also been times in your life when you didn’t have to be told to apologize.
There were times you didn’t have to be cornered into confessing. No, there have been times when you did something you knew was evil. You saw what you had done. You cringed when you played the movie that would happen now because of your sin. You saw the disappointment in the faces of people who had trusted you, the hurt in the faces of people who had looked up to you.
In those moments, you didn’t ask, “What did I do?” No, you asked yourself a question which might be made of similar words, but which came from a different planet: What have I done?
When it comes to being able to love big, a major step in the process is for Christians to be able to see sin as truly sinful. In other words, we as Christians need to be able to go from saying, “What did I do?” to saying, “What have I done?”
“We as Christians need to be able to go from saying, ‘What did I do?’ to saying, ‘What have I done?'”
What’s the connection between the first two prayers (that we would see God as God and that we would see sin as heartbreaking)? Well, we can only see sin the way it really is if we are first able to see God the way He truly is. If we don’t respect God as God, then we’ll probably end up seeing our sin as not that a big a deal. And if we don’t see sin as that big a deal?
Well, just think about the damage that mounts and multiplies until we finally do see sin as sinful. By the time King David had his “Oh God, what have I done?” realization, he had stolen the wife of his most loyal soldier and had the soldier killed. By the time Paul had his, “Oh God, what have I done?” Damascus-road experience, how many innocent Christians had been thrown into prison? Sins which are covered over and smoothed out only multiply when buried in the dark.
So, let’s not wait any longer to ask God to open our eyes so that we can see sin as sinful.
“Sins which are covered over and smoothed out only multiply when buried in the dark.”
Though it can be a painful prayer, it will prevent a lot more pain, and, as we’ll see, it will be a major step on the path to loving big. Would you pray the first two prayers with me?
And open my eyes so that I can see sin as sinful.