As I look
through the rear-view mirror of my life, I see the good and the bad. I can focus on all the undeserved blessings
for which I can be thankful for: for friends and family and material
goods. I can see personal successes
where I have either achieved something exceptional or I have been used to bless
and impact a life. But in addition to
these positive things, I am also aware of sin and how tragically it has
impacted my life. Though I have
experienced the amazing joy of having my sins forgiven by God through Jesus,
nevertheless the consequences of those sins have made an impact which affects
me to this day. Looking back I ask
myself, “What is the worst sin I, Joshua Jones, have ever committed?”
with the “juicy” ones some of you (unfortunately) are perhaps a little too
curious about. Is the worst sin I’ve ever committed the first
time I ever looked at something pornographic?
Well, I really regret that, more than I can say actually, and the thirst
for a pure, lust free soul is something that may not ever be fully satiated
this side of eternity. Allowing sexual
lust in my life is a sin I deeply regret.
But it is not my worst sin.
Is my worst
sin the first time ever I felt attracted to a woman other than my wife (after I
got married)? I was shocked when that
happened. Perhaps I was naïve and
thought once I was married under God those thoughts or feelings would never
come again. I’ve never acted on those
feelings so it’s not technically a sin, but it shows the weakness of my
humanity in a way that can make me feel ashamed nonetheless. Sad, but not the worst thing about me.
Was it the
time I was seven years old and I yelled at my three year old little brother for
stealing from me? I yelled at him to the
point that he cried…only to find out later he didn’t do it. Yeah,
I felt pretty evil there. Still bothers
me when I think of it today, but it’s not the worst sin I’ve ever
Was it my
cowardice? Was it those times I failed
to speak out the truth for fear of rocking the boat or offending others? At times as a leader and preacher I have
failed to do so. I wish I had been bolder
in speaking the truth in my former job as a leader in St.Nic’s church in
Nottingham. Cowardice is an
underestimated evil… but it’s not my worst sin.
Was it the
time I lied to someone close to me? I
was ashamed and didn’t want to be caught.
Though I rarely ever tell a direct lie nowadays, I am bothered how in
certain situations I can be “selective with the truth” in order to cover my
tracks. I’m not always as honest as I
should be. This is a terrible thing… but
still not the worst.
So, what is
the worst sin I’ve ever committed? Well,
according to the Bible it’s a sin I have committed almost (if not every) day of
my life. Jesus said that the greatest
commandment was to Love God with all of your heart, mind, soul and
strength. Jesus was not introducing
something new at this point. He was
actually quoting from Moses in Deuteronomy chapter six. The greatest sin one can commitment is
breaking the greatest commandment: failing to love and treasure God for who He
is. This is what Eve did when she chose
the fruit over God. This is what you and
I do with much of our lives and it is the root of all our other evils. This is reflected in the Ten
Commandments. The first one is that we
should have no other gods before the one Creator God. I think of my tendency to value created things
over my Creator and I realise that sin is my worst. At times in the Bible this is called “idolatry”. It is the perverse fountainhead which gives
birth to all the other brokenness and secondary sins which flow from it. If I
loved and treasured God more than I did in my past, I would not have done some
of those other stupid things as a result.
I do love
God today and that love does keep me from evil.
I also know, however, that I don’t love God to the degree that He is
worthy of and only eternity will reveal how much that lack of love caused me to
fail in other areas related to my morality and how I treat my fellow man.
But this can
all be spiritual claptrap which sounds impossible for all but the spiritual
Jedi unless we know just how much God loves us.
While you and I still hated God, He loved us. When you and I were giving Him the finger and
doing whatever the hell we wanted in rebellion to Him, He was laying plans to
come to earth in poverty and seek to save us even to the point of being
tortured and killed. Occasionally
someone might risk their life for a dear friend or a noble person, but God
shows us how great His love for us is by hanging on a tree for us while we were
at our worst.
If we accept
that love, we’ll begin to find it filling up our own lives and soon we’ll find
ourselves treasuring God far more than we ever thought possible… because He
first treasured us.