Monday, March 16, 2009

Are You a Respectable Sinner?

Over the weekend, I finished up Jerry Bridges' book Respectable Sins. Though the title may seem a bit odd (it was a great conversation starter with some of my co-workers), the premise of the book is much needed and incredibly useful. As the church today fails to miss a beat in condemning the grievous sins of society, Bridges challenges Christians to take a hard look at the less-obvious, but all-too-serious sins we tolerate in our own lives - our own "respectable" sins. Anger. Bitterness. Envy. Pride. Judgmentalism. You won't hear fiery polemics on these topics like you will about abortion, sexual immorality, or Godlessness, but they are alive and well in our lives, made all the more dangerous by their insidious nature. By treating them as "respectable," we often are blind to their devastating effects on our spiritual walks.

After introducing his premise in the opening chapters, Bridges examines several of these sins in detail chapter-by-chapter, examining how they often pop up in our lives and what we can do to battle against them. The book is incredibly disarming, showing self-styled "good people" like us just how much we still struggle with sin - and how easily we even give up the struggle and accept some sins as normal. This could be an incredibly depressing topic to explore if not for the pastoral heart that Bridges writes with. His lifetime of wisdom and gentle demeanor overflow out of every page. What could be a shattering condemnation instead has a hopeful tone, as Bridges constantly exhorts us to put our trust in the grace of Christ - both for our salvation and our sanctification. He is honest about his own failings, and offers extremely practical advice for overcoming the stumbling blocks of sin.

I can't recommend this one highly enough. It's a fairly quick and easy read that is well-suited to careful and prolonged study. One could easily read through the book in an afternoon, but I found I benefited greatly by spreading it out over a few weeks, deliberately meditating on each chapter. I think this book would be especially useful as part of a small-group study (in fact, the back of the book contains information about ordering study guides). There's not one person among us or in our churches that couldn't benefit from this challenging, yet ultimately encouraging book. Give it a read.

1 comment:

Darius said...

I can't wait to read it!