No condemnation

This last weekend (11th/12th Feb) has seen a world obsessed with celebrity stunned by the news of Whitney Houston’s premature death. Like many celebrities Whitney appeared to be someone who had everything going for her:  talent, fame, and wealth. Yet it is apparent that deep within her spirit she was a woman who was greatly troubled.

In a candid interview in 2002, Diane Sawyer listed a number of drugs and asked Houston which one was “the biggest devil” for her. Houston’s response? “That would be me. It’s my deciding. It’s my heart. It’s what I want and what I don’t want. Nobody makes me do anything I don’t want to do. It’s my decision. The biggest devil is me.”

Whitney’s answer echoes a statement made by Paul in his letter to the Romans “For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing.” What both these statements highlight is the universal experience that we all struggle with an internal battle to live consistently by our own inbuilt benchmark of what is right and wrong. Regardless of any outward measures of morality, if we are truly honest with ourselves none of us has managed to live up to our own standard.

The realisation that we are powerless to even live up to this standard by ourselves would be depressing were it not for the promise that for those who are in Christ Jesus there is now no condemnation. Jesus offers to set us free not just from our self-condemnation, but from every condemnation that could ever be thrown at us. This is the wonderful truth of the gospel: Christians are no better than anyone else but they are forgiven! It is only when we truly receive Christ’s forgiveness that we can begin to forgive ourselves and conquer the devils that lurk in each of us.

This blog post featured in the March 2012 edition of Hook Focus