Thursday, December 20, 2012

Respectable Sins by Jerry Bridges

When Respectable Sins by Jerry Bridges was published in 2007, I think most of our church (Grace Bible Church) at the time went through the book in one capacity or another. But for some reason, I never read it. I bought it. I looked through it. But I never took the time to consider what he had to say about those sins that we tend to tolerate in our life. Looking back, I hope that subtly in my heart I was not trying to avoid it. I think it is for whatever reason, I just never got around to it.

That changed a couple of months ago when I decided to lead a Sunday school class as a book club through Respectable Sins. We finished this book last Sunday, and I must say, I do regret taking this long before reading it. In this book, after several chapters setting the stage, Bridges identifies a long list of sins that have become too respectable in our culture today. This is not a book about killing someone. It is a book on dealing with impatience. Both sins. Both needing the death and resurrection of Jesus in order for us to overcome. But one seems to be thought of as not that big of a deal. That's his target audience. In fact, after those introductory chapters on the gravity of sin and the need for the gospel, Bridges tackles respectable sins, such as:
Ungodliness, Anxiety, Frustration, Discontentment, Unthankfulness, Pride, Selfishness, Lack of Self-Control, Impatience, Irritability, Anger, Resentment, Bitterness, Grudges, Judgmentalism, Critical Spirit, Envy, Jealousy, Competitiveness, Sins of the Tongue, and Worldliness.
Many of those sins listed were subpoints of the main thought of a particular chapter. But some of them are expanded with clarity and directness. I will not pretend that many things he had to say in this book didn't hurt. But it was a good hurt. For instance, I needed to hear again that my love for my particular sports team might just be an idol in my life. And that idol was why Jesus had to come and die. I need to realize that it separated me from God and I need the gospel in my life to fight against that sin.

Bridges does a masterful job of not only pointing out the sin, but of helping us see the glory of the gospel. The gospel fails to mean much to me when I fail to realize how great of a sinner I am. And that happens when we tend to downplay sin in our life. It was a much needed book then and still is today. I would highly recommend that you read it and work with others in your life to fight against it. My prayer after reading the book is that I would continue now to be more sensitive to all my sin in my life, not just the "big" ones. He ends the book with these wise words.
"We need to be honest and humble enough to admit our subtle sins in order to experience the love that comes through the forgiveness of those sins. But we must also face them in order to deal with them. The worst sin of all, in practical terms, is the denial of the subtle sins in our lives. We cannot deal with them until we admit their presence. The first step in dealing with any sin is to acknowledge it and repent in one's attitude toward it" (178-179).

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