Simultaneously saint and sinner.
This is how Martin Luther describes Christians – we are at the same time saints and sinners.
I have a hard time disagreeing with Luther. I fully believe that we are at the same time both saints and sinners. It seems that this phrase accurately describes the nature of ourselves. But we often get hung up on one side or the other of that phrase.
Some of us struggle with the idea that we are sinners. We don’t feel like we are sinners. We do our best in this life to treat others as well as we can. We try to get along with everyone and just try to do the right thing. We are not out there breaking laws or creating havoc in the world. So, the idea that we are sinners just doesn’t seem right.
Then there are others of us struggling with the saint side of that phrase. We struggle to think that we are saints. We don’t believe that we are bad people; we just don’t think we are saintly in the least.
We know all too well our own sinfulness and struggle with the idea that we are saints. We have ideas in our heads that saints are perfect. We have ideas in our heads that saints do no wrong. We believe that saints have no doubts.
We look at the list of saints found in our hymnals and in our prayers during worship on Sundays and believe there is no way to measure up to the standard of saint. We easily believe our only nature is that of sinner. We easily believe that we are unlovable in God’s eyes. We easily believe that we are unacceptable.
We easily believe that we are only a sinner, someone that is unlovable, someone that is beyond redemption, or someone that is inherently bad. That belief seeps out into our lives and colors our view of the world and of others.
Am I saint, sinner or both? I would argue that is the wrong question.
The better question: Am I loved?
The answer is YES. God loves us as we are, our whole selves, the saint and the sinner.
See what love the Father has given us, that we should be called children of God, and that is what we are. ~ 1 John 3:1
Pastor for Care and Community