“For both the skeptic and the Christian, the neglect of indwelling evil stems from the same source: the very sin overlooked. One of Satan’s strategies is to draw our attention to evils outside of us so that sin can have its grand work unhindered where it does the most damage. Sin is like a mastermind that gets its job done without attracting attention to itself. It is most successful when attention is not on itself. Sin could almost be considered humble, were it not for its corrupting abuse of virtue.
As children of God, believers cannot be distracted from our task of finding sin and dealing with it. The apostle Paul reminds us that this is a life or death situation: ‘For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live’ (Romans 8:13). Or as John Owen put it, ‘be killing sin or it will kill you.’ Sin is the evil of evils, for it steals away our joy in the Lord and separates us from sweet communion with God.”
This is by one JTC, from the the cover of the most recent catalog of Reformation Heritage Books. I found it quite penetrating. When we are in the grip of sin, we so quickly focus on the faults of others. Often, we see sins of others in high relief, and it is usually the same sins that we struggle with. Rather than confront our own problems, we have an allergic reaction to the same problems when we see them in others.
Of course, this is what Our Lord meant when he spoke of the plank in our eye. We need to remove our own plank, by the grace of God, before we attempt to help other extract their own. Note that Jesus did not command us to totally refrain from helping others remove planks, but he did make clear the priority of our taking a good, hard look in the mirror first.
Since this is an election year, I might as well offend people. This is also part of the reason why the Christian Right will never make a lasting lick of difference in our nation. Judgment begins at the house of God. Satan is most happy when we spend all our time pointing fingers at the liberals, the demoncrats, and the baby-killers. But, God doesn’t want to purify America. God wants to purify His people. America will not spend eternity in the new heavens and the new earth: the Bride of Christ will spend eternity with Her Lord. God is in the business of purifying the Church, and the Church cannot seriously pursue purity until we start pointing our fingers at ourselves. If the Church of Jesus Christ were unified in America, we would put the liberals to flight. If the Church of Jesus Christ focused on mortifying Her own sins, instead of cozying up to politicians, we might actually start to make a difference. Then we might really understand the meaning of change.