Who is the Worst Sinner?

I’m a huge fan of hearing why I’m not good enough.  It gives me great delight to see the many ways that I fail.  I thrive at feeling incompetent.

Ha!  Yeah…actually, I hate it.

Whenever someone tells me I can’t do something, I desperately want to prove them wrong.  I hate feeling exposed of my weaknesses.  I don’t want anyone to see that I’m not able to do something.  I’m so prideful like that.

I know many of us are in the same boat.  We don’t really like to show off our failures to others.  Some of us are afraid of failure.  Others embrace it and move forward.  And still, others just don’t care what people around them think.  I’m definitely a people pleaser who doesn’t want to show her faults.

But ironically enough, you know what doesn’t bother me?  Talking about how much I need Jesus.

My family was in NW Iowa this weekend, and the sermon we heard at my parents’ church was spot on amazing to me.  The passage was I Timothy 1:12-17.  Check this out, from Paul himself:

“Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst.  But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his immense patience as an example for those who would believe in him and receive eternal life.”

“…of whom I am the worst.”

Does this strike us odd?  Really, think about this.  Paul admitted himself as the worst of sinners.  Does that mean that Paul is honestly the worst sinner out there?  To himself, yes.  Yes he was.  He viewed himself as the worst of sinners.  He put himself in a place where he knew he needed saving by admitting that he was the worst of sinners.  He was below the lowest.   His point here is to show that God’s patience to save him was great because of the greatness of wrong he did before he was converted.  But his comparison wasn’t only with man around him.  His comparison was with God.  He was looking at himself through God’s eyes, not man’s eyes.  How can anyone be saved if they don’t think they need saving?  How can anyone want to change if they don’t think they need to change?  How can someone make better lifestyle choices if they don’t think they are doing anything to hurt themselves in the first place?

Now to pose another question, how do you choose to live when you compare yourself to your neighbor?  I know that if my comparison is with other man around me, I can always justify the wrong I do because it wasn’t as bad as that guy!  We can make up excuses to let our wrong habits stay habits.  We can excuse our sins by pointing at a “greater wrong” and walking away without any desire to change.

Now what if our comparison was with God?  What if our eyes were shut off and we asked to see the world through God’s eyes?  We have no excuse.  We begin to see our need for a Savior.  We understand more why Jesus had to die for us.  We then put ourselves in a place of submission instead of resistance.  Our hearts want to change because we see why we need to.  If you keep looking through our eyes, you won’t change.

But if you pray to see through God’s eyes…

Then ask yourself, who is the worst sinner in this room?

The answer?

I am.

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