My wife and I had missed breakfast. We were flying that day from her home in Mexico to my parents’ home here in the States. About halfway into the flight, we were both starving. That’s when the flight attendant served lunch. She gave us burritos. They were amazing. My wife and I still talk about them.
I wonder, though, if a part of the reason they tasted so good was because we were so hungry.
As a pastor, I sometimes hear people ask, “Why do you have to talk about our sins so much in church? Why can’t you be more positive?”
Good question. Why talk about the bad stuff we do? Why point out those ugly things you said to your husband or those images you glared at on your computer or the case of beer you drank on Friday night? Why talk about our lies and gossip and pride?
Well, first of all because that’s the only way we will ever be able to change. You can’t fix a problem until you admit you have one.
There is another reason, though. When we stop looking at our sins, we start thinking we aren’t so bad. We start thinking we are good people who deserve heaven.
If you are a good person who deserves heaven, why would you need a Savior? Seriously. If you can make it to heaven on your own, why would you need Jesus?
Only when we look honestly at our sins – when we see all the hurtful and ugly things we have thought, said and done – do we realize we are in trouble. Only then do we realize that on our own we are lost and condemned creatures, stumbling down the road to hell.
And that truth makes us hungry – hungry for help, hungry for God’s love, hungry for forgiveness. Then, when we hear the pastor announce that God forgives us all our sins because of Jesus, that truth tastes oh so sweet. Then when we approach the altar to receive Jesus’ body and blood in the Sacrament, we appreciate the feast of forgiveness God is offering to us.
Every Sunday at church, our God offers us a buffet of the finest foods: his promises of forgiveness and heaven, protection and providence. That smorgasbord of God’s love tastes all the more delicious when we realize how hungry we are, how sinful we are, how lost we are without him.
So don’t complain when your pastor talks about sin in church. He does so to make you hungry. He shows you your sins so that you can appreciate and savor the feast of forgiveness your Savior offers in his Word and Sacraments.