Like Paul, Be Vulnerable when talking about Sin

Sometimes people struggle to talk about sin when they witness. They don’t want people to get mad at them or tune them out. But, talking about sin is so necessary. Until people know the seriousness and extent of their sin, they won’t realize their desperate need for a Savior.

But how to do this in a way which doesn’t create a barrier but rather builds a bridge?

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One of the best ways we have found to talk about sin is by first talking about our sin rather than immediately trying to convince people of their sin. By opening ourselves up and being vulnerable, people see us as real. They identify with us. And before they know it, they are also talking about their sins.

 This is what Paul frequently did. Some of his best-known passages are where he is transparent about his sinfulness. Here are just two:

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“For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing” (Romans 7:18-19)

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“Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst” (1 Timothy 1:15).

Countless people over the centuries have read these passages, identified with them, and made them their own as they talked about their sins.

It’s also good to talk about the specific sins you commit. People sometimes have trouble identifying with the general concept of sin. So, I frequently talk about my impatience with other drivers. Or my less than vibrant prayer life. Or how I catch myself taking my wife for granted. These are all things I genuinely struggle with. Even as I write this paragraph I find myself shaking my head over all the times I fail in these areas. 

But I’m also thinking that many of you identified with at least one of those. If we were talking in person I can easily imagine you agreeing with me and saying you have been there also. Then we would be on equal footing. And then it becomes so much easier to talk about sin.

So, make yourself vulnerable and talk first about your sin. You might be pleasantly surprised how far it goes in building bridges with the people you are witnessing to.

Mark CaresComment