My dear, sweet girl,
I’m so thankful you’re thinking about sin. I’m so thankful you’re thinking about what it means to be a sinner, what it means to realize that so often you do the bad stuff you swore you wouldn’t do. And not only that, but so often you don’t do the good stuff you had promised to do. I know sin is a hard thing to think about, but it’s such an important thing.
Yesterday you were comparing yourself to your brother and sister. You asked, “Why am I so much more sinful than they are?” We talked then, but I wanted to write a little note to tell you again. I want you to think about two important things.
First, I want you to know that you just can’t trust what you see on the outside of another person. There is always so much more sin on the inside than the outside. Do you remember what Jesus said? “What comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart, and this defiles a person.” Sin begins on the inside of us and then sometimes comes out in angry words, rolling eyes, stamping feet, slamming doors. We all sin in different ways. Some sin loudly and some sin quietly. Some sin in their actions and some in their imaginations. But it’s all sin. Our problem isn’t just what we do, but who we are! We don’t just do sinful things, we have sinful hearts! And that is our biggest problem in the whole wide world.
Second, and even more important, I want you to remember that the most important comparison you need to make is not between yourself and your brother or sister. It’s not between yourself and your friends, or between yourself and mom and dad. The only comparison that really matters is the comparison between yourself and Jesus. If you compare yourself to other people you will always look better than some of them and worse than others. When you look better you will think you’re pretty good. When they look better you will be sad. There’s a better way! Compare yourself to Jesus.
Compare yourself to Jesus by reading about him in the Bible. You can read about him in the books of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. (Luke is my favorite.) Do you know what will happen? First you’ll become sad and scared because you’ll see a perfect example of how God tells you to live. You will see that Jesus never sinned. He perfectly obeyed God every…single…minute of his life. Can you imagine? When you compare yourself to him you’ll start to understand just how sinful you really are! It’s like thinking you’re pretty big, then comparing yourself to a mountain. When you look at the mountain you realize you’re a lot smaller than you thought!
When you compare yourself to Jesus you’ll be sad and scared, but you’ll soon also become really happy. How can that be? Because you’ll come to understand why Jesus came into this world in the first place. Jesus lived a whole lifetime of goodness so he could give his goodness as a gift to you! But there’s more! Jesus took other people’s sin upon himself when he went to the cross, and he paid the punishment for that sin—sin that was committed by people like you and me and mommy. That’s the best news you could ever hear! It’s the news mommy and I heard and it changed our lives forever. It’s the news we tell you so often.
We talk all the time about the gospel, right? You hear it a lot, so you know that the gospel is a huge trade—a trade we make with Jesus. Jesus takes our sin and he gives us his goodness. Isn’t that amazing? That’s how much he loves us, that he would earn goodness for us and then trade it for all our sin. Do you believe that? Will you believe that?
Here’s what I want you to see so much: The good news of the gospel doesn’t begin by looking across but by looking up. It doesn’t begin by comparing yourself to moms or dads or brothers and sisters. It begins by comparing yourself to Jesus. Look to Jesus! I pray every day that you’ll look to Jesus, that you’ll believe in him and trust in him, and that you’ll come to know him as the very dearest friend.
I love you forever,