Have you ever noticed how annoying it is when a cell phone rings in a public place? Perhaps you’re in a restaurant, chatting quietly with your family. Or you’re waiting in the doctor’s office, absorbed in an interesting magazine article. And then the phone in someone’s purse or pocket blares unexpectedly. The one-sided conversation that follows is usually even more irritating than the ringtone.
But have you noticed how different it is when your own cell phone rings? You’re chatting with your spouse in a restaurant or reading a book in a waiting room when the phone in your pocket or purse begins to vibrate. The ringtone sounds familiar and pleasant. The person on the other end of the conversation is someone you deeply love—a daughter calling to ask about a recipe, a brother finalizing fishing plans for Saturday, a grandson reporting his 100 on that brutal trigonometry exam.
We tend to think of our personal sins in this same slanted way. My sins are familiar and pleasant compared with the trespasses of others. Your sins, though, are offensive. How could anyone be so weak and foolish?
Obviously, the Lord doesn’t share this rosy view of my personal sin. The Bible says that my disobedience to God creates enmity between him and me. But in the person of his own holy and loving Son, the Father has spanned the gulf between us and himself: “For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life” (Rom. 5:10).