Life sure is messy, isn’t it? We hurt ourselves, we hurt each other… sometimes intentionally, sometimes not. Have you ever noticed there seem to be two camps of thought when it comes to sin?

Either you mosey on over to stand with the group who shrugs and defensively argues: “Everybody else is doing it” and “You should see what that person is doing.” Or, you believe you’re no longer fit to interact with the human race because your sins are so much worse than everyone else’s.

I, myself, have joined both camps in the past. Sometimes I choose smugness and sometimes I choose shame. Maybe it’s more accurate to say, they have chosen me. I’ve escaped from both, but not without some hard fought lessons.

Here’s what I’ve learned in each:

The camp that justifies its behavior based on what everybody else is doing is living life in a toilet. They may be floating along happily, thinking they’ve got it made, believing they’re actually in a nice, contained little pond, but eventually that toilet will flush and they will start swirling into the unknown abyss.

On the other hand, the people who are voting themselves off the island because of their horridness have lost perspective. We are all sinners. Every one of us does stupid things. We all get caught up occasionally in something we should have avoided. We cannot let our sin take on so much power that it changes who we are. We are God’s creation. He created us back then and He still loves us now, with or without the sin. That never changes. Hopefully, our shortcomings serve a purpose by teaching us humility in dealing with other people in their time of need. There really is no space for judgment when we remember we’ve all been wrong.

I have a friend going through a very rough time. Truly, she brought it on herself (and she knows it) because she chose to listen to the voice of temptation instead of the quiet voice inside her head telling her which path to follow. She is filled with guilt over what she has done and shame over who she is. I bet you can tell which camp she’s sitting in right now.

Very soon she’ll be out of this valley, I know, because she is doing something that brings healing every time. She is holding her sin up to the Light. When we take what we’ve done, whatever appalling transgression that sickens our soul, and we reach out to a trusted friend and whisper, “I did this, I was wrong” we are actually handing it to God. The enemy would like nothing more than to have us snared up in a web of lies, and he can do that if we keep our sin hidden. Light always chases away the darkness, and by bringing our sins into the light, we are taking away the enemies control over them.

Sure, we still have to pay the price of offense. But we get to sweep up the mess and walk it out to the trash where God will take it away forever. Then hopefully, we can lift our head and feel the joy that comes from knowing we get to try again tomorrow.