The following took place a few years back in Aurora, Denver.
“And if you’re right, what do I do?,” that was her question. Given the context, it was a good one. For the past hour we were discussing the effects of her sin on her family. How selfish decisions, small and great, had created ruptures that were seemingly irreparable. And these ruptures were now bleeding out. She continued, “If I’m largely to blame, what kind of mother would I be?!” She knew I would be honest, and by virtue of her question, she opened herself up to a world of pain.
With a heart almost out of my chest, and her gaze intense, my prayer to God was that of Nehemiah’s, silent and inward (Nehemiah 2:4). My answer: You’d be a mother in need of Christ’s blood. Those sins are real, but thankfully so is the death and resurrection of Christ. She knew the story, and for a moment the softness in her heart came through her eyes. But as quickly as it had come, it had gone. The softness was driven out by a look of fear and dread. Her reply: “No.” One clear syllable from the labyrinth of her heart helped make plain what – in that moment – she was for and against. All-star mom? Yes. Christ’s blood over her parenting? No.
On the way back home I couldn’t get her fearful gaze out my mind:
What was she so afraid of?
A few weeks later, I read a small tract and had some clarity in a one-liner:
He that fears to see sin’s utmost vileness, the hell of his own
heart, he suspects the merits of Christ.
– Thomas Wilcox, Honey out of the Rock
The English is a little archaic, I know. But I trust the message still carries: avoidance of our sin is distrust in the power of Christ to save us from sin. The idea is that we can measure our trust in Christ by our willingness to see the blackness of our hearts. That more than a verbal affirmation, faith in Christ is akin to a deep-dive off a cliff trusting that the bottom is safe: the dive representing freedom and the result, full joy.
To modify some words of Martin Luther, “Why should I fear this conquered heart, when Christ the conqueror is on my side?” The answer: I shouldn’t. Like a bee without a stinger, sin threatens but its threats are empty. My Savior has taken the sting (1 Cor 15:55-57).
We should be suspicious of many things, but not Christ’s blood. It’s the perfect remedy for sin.
David Noel, Jr. is GRC’s Director of Youth Ministry.