Sin & Self-Worth

2 Samuel 16:5-14
God showed His great love for us by sending
Christ to die for us while we were still sinners
(Romans 5:8).

A youth pastor avoids telling his teenagers that
they’re sinners because he doesn’t want to leave
the impression that they “suck” (that they’re
bad or worthless). A popular author denies that infants
are born with a sin nature because that would mean
that “babies suck.” And a friend who confessed to an
especially offensive sin said, “I guess this means I suck.”
Despite their juvenile descriptions of sin, notice that each
person confuses sin with self-worth. They assume that sin
means they no longer matter, when in fact their sin matters
only if they do. Sin is rebellion, and rebellion is a problem
only when the rebel carries some weight. If we really were
worthless, our sin wouldn’t count for much.

When King David was fleeing Jerusalem, he met
Shimei, an enraged loner from Saul’s dethroned family
who hurled stones and insults at the king’s entourage
(2 Samuel 16:9). David’s men wanted to crush Shimei,
but David told them to leave him alone, in part because
he was not a threat (v.10). Far different was David’s
response to Absalom’s army. He knew that those men
could destroy him and his kingdom, and so David threw
all of his weapons at them in the fight of his life (18:1-2).
God isn’t threatened by our rebellion, but the cross
informs us that He takes us and our sin seriously. If we
had no value, would God have given His life to save
us? The cost of our salvation reminds us that we and our
sin matter to God. If we minimize our sin, we also minimize ourselves and the
salvation which rescues us.

The surest way to tell someone they’re worthless is to ignore their sin. Treat
them like a Shimei whose rebellion is of no account. If you want them to know
they matter, you’re going to have to talk about sin. —Mike Wittmer

Compare Philippians 3:3-6 and 1 Timothy
1:15-17 to learn how Paul balanced a
positive self-image with an equal appreciation
of his own sin.

Which is the best version of the hymn
“At the Cross?” The original line that Jesus
died “for such a worm as I” or the revised
“for sinners such as I”?