The Pharisees wanted to be people who “do not need to repent” (Luke 15:7). They mistakenly thought this is what God wanted of them. I also made the same mistake.

Growing up in a ministry family, I thought church was more about how people saw me than the actual state of my heart. I wasn’t aware of it at the time, but I catered my behavior to what I knew was accepted, praised, or valued. I ended up creating a squeaky clean image on the outside, but much like the Pharisees, “a white washed tomb” (Matt. 23:27). I wasn’t aware of my dead heart until I discovered porn. While publicly I was the ideal youth group leader, volunteer, and intern; privately I was a hopelessly lost sinner and addict.

The image I had cultivated in public turned out to be a prison. I was not safe to make a mistake, to mess up, or even name the sin of which I was guilty. Tragically, porn had become my only safe space, where I was away from the prying eyes of the public, and able to deal with emotions that were going neglected and overlooked.

My private sin continued to bury me. I was seemingly powerless to stop it. But what I didn’t realize at the time, to my utter shock, was the very sin burying me was in the redemptive power of God, preparing me for the resurrection to new life in Jesus Christ. Romans 8:28 says, “in all things God works for the good of those who love him,” even and especially the most shameful things.”

The very sin that drove me to my knees ended up driving me to my knees before Him!

It was only when I had blown it beyond what I could handle that I finally acknowledged who I was. I was not the squeaky clean Christian that didn’t need grace, but the sinner in utter need of saving! I had to admit I was lost if I was to be truly found. Like the Pharisees I wanted to be someone who “did not need to repent”. Turns out, amazingly, Jesus is only looking for the very people who have no other option than to fall to their knees and cry out: “Lord Jesus, have mercy on me, a sinner!”

Ryan Lunde
Young Adults Pastor

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