______Anonymous

There are all sorts of “anonymous” groups. Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous are two of the most recognizable, but there are so many more. Overeating…pornography…gambling…families of addicts…former gang members…debtors…co-dependents…parents of children with mental illness. YES, these are all support groups whose sole purpose is to band together and recover, support, be accountable, and move forward and away from whatever addiction, challenge, vice or lifestyle they had experience with prior or are currently struggling with. The support of people who have had similar experience, struggles and victory is key. The “third strand”, God, is imperative.

Two are better than one,
    because they have a good return for their labor:
10 If either of them falls down,
    one can help the other up.
But pity anyone who falls
    and has no one to help them up.
11 Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm.
    But how can one keep warm alone?
12 Though one may be overpowered,
    two can defend themselves.
A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.

Ecclesiastes 4:9-12

Sin. Darned that Adam and Eve. We struggle- day in and day out with sin of all kinds. Take a moment and read all of Romans 3. It’s pretty clear that nobody is righteous.

…for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God

Romans 3:23

and it’s also very clear that Jesus is the only acceptable sacrifice to atone for that sin.

24 and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. 25 God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement,[i] through the shedding of his blood—to be received by faith.

Romans 3:24-25

All because He loves us.

16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

John 3:16

Whoever BELIEVES.

Belief that Jesus is the son of God…God himself come to earth to pay for our sins…being beaten, brutalized and nailed to a cross. The Passover lamb. His blood on the doorpost of my heart so that the angel of death will pass me by. The ultimate sacrifice.  He who, then, conquered the grave and resurrected three days later. VICTORIOUS over death and sin.

To confess and repent of ones sin…to turn…to walk with Christ… part of a fellowship of other believers so that we may learn and grow and to plant seeds so that others will know of Jesus’ love.

We are Sinners Anonymous.

But, we are not “anonymous” to God. He knows our past, our burdens, our challenges, our short-comings and sins.  While God has a clear picture of such things, I do not. As I sit in church…in Sunday School…in Bible study or fellowship- this is something I try my hardest to remember. Although we may have sinned in different ways, we are all sinners. The person next to me in church may have had struggles with alcohol- so to make a flippant or careless statement may damage my witness or hinder their walk. That person next to me in Sunday School may have been a thief, homosexual, adulterer, may have had an abortion…there is no way for me to know. They may or may not be a Christian.

Or do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men[a] 10 nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. 11 And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.

1 Corinthians 6:9-11

 If our faith is in Christ, then we are forgiven and “recovering” daily. Relying on His strength and grace. Each day is a choice to turn from sin, follow Him and to obey his commands, desires and will for us. Each day is a repentant day…continuing to turn from the behavior prior to our life with Christ and moving forward with Him.

20 That, however, is not the way of life you learned 21 when you heard about Christ and were taught in him in accordance with the truth that is in Jesus. 22 You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; 23 to be made new in the attitude of your minds; 24 and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.

Ephesians 4:21-24

 In my daily conversation I have to be very conscious to avoid judgemental statements and to speak the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15) and to encourage the person next to me. If they know Christ, then they know the power of forgiveness. If they don’t know Christ, it is my calling to reflect the love of Christ and share with them. That will not be possible if I can’t train my tongue to respond the way God wants me to- or not at all.

29 Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.

Ephesians 4:29

11 Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.12 Now we ask you, brothers and sisters, to acknowledge those who work hard among you, who care for you in the Lord and who admonish you. 13 Hold them in the highest regard in love because of their work. Live in peace with each other. 14 And we urge you, brothers and sisters, warn those who are idle and disruptive, encourage the disheartened, help the weak, be patient with everyone. 15 Make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong, but always strive to do what is good for each other and for everyone else.16 Rejoice always, 17 pray continually, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

1 Thessalonians 5:11-18

While our sins may differ and may remain anonymous to each other, our sins are known to God. Praise the Lord that there is no limit to His forgiveness and I pray that there is no limit to the forgiveness, mercy and compassion I offer to others in my path.We must always encourage, support, and speak in love, yet be firm and admonish when another seems to be falling behind or wandering off. WE are Sinners Anonymous.

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