As our verse today reminds us, our hearts are deceitful above all things. And the most deceptive lie they tell us is that we aren’t that bad of sinners.
We think we commit small, acceptable sins. The “real sin” is what people outside our Christian communities do. We can easily identify sin in the immoral and unethical conduct of people “out there.” But we often fail to recognize our sin, denying that there’s much of a problem.
C.S. Lewis noted a similar trait in his twentieth-century English audiences: “The barrier I have met is almost total absence from the minds of my audience of any sense of sin….The early Christian preachers could assume in their hearers a sense of guilt. Thus the Christian message was unmistakably the Good News. It promised healing to those who knew they were sick.” And then he concluded saying, “We have to convince our hearers of the unwelcome diagnosis before we can expect them to welcome the news of the remedy.”
So it’s not just a modern-day problem. It’s a human heart issue, regardless of circumstances or time period. Sin is not just a weakness—it is a disease. It is not something that we can simply ignore and leave untreated. Left unchecked, it can spread throughout our entire being and contaminate every aspect of our lives. The Bible calls this condition our sinful nature, or our flesh.
That’s why I’m thankful for Jesus’ words: "It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners" (Mark 2:17, NIV). We know our hearts are sick. There’s no use in denying it, covering it up, or trying to manage it. It should make us grateful for the Great Physician who is offering not just to pay for our sins, but to give us a new heart.
How has your heart deceived you? How do you view your sin compared to those around you?