If you’ve ever grown a vegetable garden, you know that certain plants make great companions. Native Americans famously planted the Three Sisters together: corn, pole beans, and squash. The tall stalks of corn made great support for the climbing beans and the low growing squash shades the ground to retain moisture and suppress weed growth.
In the same way, certain sins make great companions. One sin runs defense for another. One sin provides shade under which other sins can grow.
Outbursts of anger grow under the shade of excuse making. “Well, I snapped because I was hungry.” Or “You know, I was only short with you because you’ve been short with me all day.” As if the sin of excuse making atones for the sin of uncontrolled anger.
The sin of sloth loves to be planted beside the sin of dishonesty. “No, I haven’t finished my homework because I was cleaning my room,” when you were really just playing with your toys.”
Coveting pops up next to lust, greed, jealousy, and anger. When we covet the promotion that someone else received we begin justifying our cool attitude to them in the break room. We covet our neighbor’s house and compound that sin by failing to be thankful for the house God has given us in his grace
All of this is to say that sin isn’t a lone ranger. Sin loves the company of other sins. So, train yourself to realize that when you see one sin… stop and look around. There are probably a few companions growing next to it. And remember, that Jesus’ sacrifice isn’t just sufficient for the one sin you see. He’s sufficient for all the sins you missed too.
This reminds us of our need to confess, so pray with me now.
Our Father in Heaven,
Seeing how high and holy you are, how exalted you are in heaven and on earth, in comparison we know ourselves to be puny. We are small and finite creatures, and more than this, we are fallen sinners. We confess that we’ve inherited a sinful nature from our father Adam, and that from the day of our birth we have been inclined to evil. And we confess that we’ve freely chosen sin. We have not loved you with full hearts. We have not obeyed your law. Instead, we have loved ourselves and lived by rules of our own making.
Father, we confess that our confidence in ourselves has been foolish and destructive—and we confess that we are accountable to you. If your justice was applied to our record, we know that none of us could stand. We are all condemned by our own thoughts, attitudes, and actions.
Father you have said that if we conceal our guilt it will remain, but if we confess our guilt to you, you will pardon and forgive. So, Father, we know that if we say “amen” to this prayer, yet continue to regard sin in our hearts this prayer will be ineffectual, so we confess our individual sins to you now in silence. Hear our prayers.
Father, thank you that mercy multiplies more in you than sin in us. We ask that according to the multitude of your tender mercies—blot out our transgressions. Though we are red as crimson—make us white as snow. And we ask all this in the strong name of Jesus. Amen.
ASSURANCE OF PARDON – Psalm 130:3-4
3 If you, O Lord, should mark iniquities, O Lord, who could stand?
4 But with you there is forgiveness, that you may be feared.