It is a fact of life, and a tenet of the faith, that everybody is a sinner. Everyone lies, everyone is willfully blind to their own faults or the faults of those they love, and everyone twists their version of events to accommodate their own desires. We are all, every last one of us, selfish little buggers who lash out when we should forgive or cling greedily to our pride when we should humble ourselves and live for others.
And this does not apply only to pagans. This is true of Christians– all Christians. Every last one of us lies, cheats, steals, covets, lusts, or loses our temper on a more or less regular basis. Judged objectively, by the standards of a Creator who made all things good, by the standards of the God who is love, we are scumbags.
This is even true of the people we like. You may choose to ignore it when the evidence crops up, but go one night without sleep or wake up with a headache and immediately you will recognize the faults of every human being you come into contact with.
This is true of great men too, men we respect. They not only make mistakes, you know the kind- accidents and indiscretions, no, they also willfully do the wrong thing. Watch them long enough, see them interact with those who give them trouble, and it will come out eventually.
This is not news to Jesus. While we were yet sleazy, self-centered scumbags, Christ died for us. Knowing that we’re the sort of people that would join in crucifying him if we thought it was in our interest, he chose to take the punishment we deserved. He showed us how to die to ourselves, he gave us Someone Else to live for, and he showed us the way up out of the grave.
This does not mean we ceased to be sinners; it means that our sins were paid for. We’ve been given the grace to live for God, and to show that same grace and selfless love to each other, but we are still toddlers taking our first steps down the path of faith. There are times when we will stumble, so we confess our sin, ask forgiveness, get up and keep on walking. And every time we should thank the Lord that he loves us even when we don’t deserve it. Because we never do.
“But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8
Rejoice, for the Lord is good; his mercy endureth forever.