“And you show that you are a letter from Christ delivered by us, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts.” 2 Corinthians 3:3
Yesterday, I was on the #15 bus. It was crowded by the time it reached my stop so I had to stand. I filed on along with several other people, one of whom was tall man with a hip length satchel hanging off his shoulder.
Head phones on, he arranged himself in the aisle, his bag hanging inches from a woman’s face. Clearly, from her visible discomfort, it was too close. The bag intruded into her personal boundary — the space we hold dear which usually keeps others at bay. She tried to rearrange herself and made a few obvious movements to let the man know she was there, but he stood his ground.
As the bus swayed and stopped to pick up other passengers, the man swayed too, his satchel swinging ever closer to the woman’s face — the man still blindly unaware of her anxiety, ear buds banging away who knows what into his brain. The woman warily looked on … saying nothing.
How often do we play both the role of that woman … and of the man. We aren’t just one or the other, but we are both.
How often does our sin impact others as we obliviously go about our way. How often does someone else’s sin shove into us, rubbing itself on us? How often do we struggle against it, trying to get away from it, yet remaining silent? Offending and being offended.
Our salvation grants us forgiveness of sin and entry into heaven. It also carries with it, our father’s request that we be sanctified and holy. This is so he can fellowship with us. Paul says in Ephesians, “that God chose us before he created the world and that we should be holy and blameless before him in love, having predestined us as his sons and daughters through adoption by our belief in Jesus Christ.”
We all have baggage — swinging satchels, huge backpacks or giant rolling suitcases of sin. Some sin we’re aware of and other sins are unknown, having not yet been revealed to us yet.
Our lack of awareness carries with it huge impacts. It separates us from intimacy with our father. It can push others away, confusing them about who we are in Christ.
We’re meant to be a written message of Christ, “written not with ink but by the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of flesh, that is of the heart,“ and our obvious, stinking sin does not send a message of deliverance and invitation to others to know Christ’s love.
God knew when he created us that we would need His help. Jesus promised it too when he was with his disciples, “I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever.”
Once we accept Christ, the Holy Spirit comes and makes his home in our hearts — right in the midst of our sin. His job is to help bring it to our attention so we can get rid of it and so that our transformation can be an example to others.
Then, when we file onto the bus, we are “the fragrance of Christ among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing.”
Our new baggage now contains joy, kindness and more awareness of how our lives impact others.
Scripture references: Eph. 1:4-5, 2 Cor. 13:5, 2 Cor. 3:3, John 14:16, John 16:13, 2 Cor. 2:15
Written Saturday, January 30, 2010