Before responding to the sin of others, we each have to deal with the sin in our own heart.
Scripture likens it to trying to remove a speck from someone else’s eye but never realizing there’s a massive beam in your own. This happens when our self-righteousness blinds us to our sin.
But how do we take the log out of our own eye?
First, instead of sitting in judgment on the sin of others, we must judge our own sin. Sometimes we know exactly what our sins are – we’re painfully aware – but we’re tempted to ignore or excuse them, downplaying their seriousness compared to the sins of others. We grow accustomed to the sins that are part of our lives and begin to act as though they are not really all that bad. We need to ask God to give us a fresh awareness of the sinfulness of our sin.
But often we are completely blind to even the existence of our own sin.
Jeremiah 17:9 tells us, “The heart is more deceitful than all else and is desperately sick; who can understand it?” We can’t fully know our own hearts. The Apostle Paul says in 1 Corinthians 4:4, “I am conscious of nothing against myself.” He knew of no issues – no sin. But then he adds, “Yet I am not by this acquitted.” Just because we don’t see our sin doesn’t mean it isn’t there.
So how can we take the log out of our eye when we don’t know it’s there in the first place?
Begin by praying what David prayed in Psalm 139:23-24, “Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me and know my anxious thoughts; and see if there be any hurtful way in me, and lead me in the everlasting way.” Say, “Lord I’m not aware of a beam in my eye, but it may be there. Please open my eyes through Your Spirit and Your word. Convict me – let me see it so I can deal with it.”
Then, when you see your sin, confess it to God.
David did this when he finally saw his sin. I love Psalm 32:5, “I acknowledged my sin to you, and my iniquity I did not hide. I said, ‘I will confess my transgressions to the Lord;’ and You forgave the guilt of my sin.”
But we must not only confess the sin we already know about (or that God reveals in our lives), we must also be willing to turn from that sin and pursue obedience. Many Christians spend their lives confessing sin, but take no action to remove it from their lives. Jesus said if your right eye causes you to sin, pluck it out. If your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off (Matt. 18:8-9). He meant we must be willing to radically deal with sin, even if it’s painful in the short run.
Serious repentance of sin means being willing to take steps to cut it out of our lives. It may mean turning off the television, putting an Internet filter on your devices, or even getting rid of the Internet altogether. It may mean changing jobs or putting limits on a relationship.
The point is to be willing to take active steps to pursue obedience.
Those two things together constitute true repentance: See your sin as God sees it, and be willing to turn from it to true obedience.
We serve a forgiving God. When we come to Him in confession and repentance of sin, “He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”