I'm hesitant to say that I'm convicted by verses in the Bible because it's scary to wonder what it will lead to or what is expected of me. However, some verses today did really stand out to me.
Therefore, son of man, say to your countrymen, “The righteousness of the righteous man will not save him when he disobeys, & the wickedness of the wicked man will not cause him to fall when he turns from it. The righteous man, if he sins, will not be allowed to live because of his former righteousness.
It's easy to read these verses thinking “well, of course” & move on. It seems pretty straight forward, knowing that we can't rely on past good deeds to excuse today's sins &, knowing the plan of salvation, we understand that if someone turns from evil they will be forgiven.
But to stop & think how this directly applies to us…
As a Christian, it is easy to take for granted that our sins are forgiven. To casually pray a blanket prayer, “forgive my sins today,” without even taking the time to consider what they were, how they affected someone else & how we need to change or with whom we need to make things right.
The verse clearly states “when he turns from it.” This implies action. Are we really turning from our sins when we quickly spout off a prayer without changing our ways, making restitution & really acknowledging our mistakes.
If he gives back what he took in pledge for a loan, returns what he has stolen, follows the decrees that give life, & does no evil, he will surely live; he will not die.
That's my challenge; to really consider my words, thoughts & actions & to recognize the sins in my life (big or small). Then, to not just sit back after a quick prayer, but to make efforts to really “turn from it,” to actually seek someone out if necessary to apologize & right my wrongs.
My mom told us a story the other day about my grandpa. She said that as a teen he had stolen cigarettes from the gas station in Ile Des Chenes. After he had become a Christian a number of years later, he had gone back to pay for what he had taken. The owner had said that was never very worried when young Mennonite boys stole from him because he knew that when they gave their lives to God, they would make things right.
That really hit me & made me think. I was surprised that he felt it necessary to go back to fix something he had done years earlier. I think, though, that I need to learn from him. It doesn't matter what it was or when it happened, if you were in the wrong & haven't made things right, it's our responsibility to do so. We shouldn't just rely on God’s forgiveness. While that is all we need, as Christians we are responsible to live by example too.