For at one time we ourselves were also foolish, disobedient, deceived, enslaved by many kinds of evil desires and pleasures, living in malice and jealousy, being hated and hating one another. Titus 3:3 (EHV).
Been there, done that. You know that aphorism; chances are you’ve said it. You’re experienced; you’ve lived; you’ve been around the block. In the Queen’s English, you’re trustworthy because you can identify with the circumstances we each encounter.
If you say you aren’t sinful, you’re fooling yourself. But don’t leave yourself hanging out there, on a limb and out of hope. Every one of us is sinful; we all suffer from that same malady. It need not define you. You’ve been there, done that. Let’s not leave it there.
The Apostle Paul, perhaps the greatest missionary ever, could identify with his friends and fellow followers of ‘The Way.’ He had been foolish, disobedient, deceived, enslaved by evil, living in malice, jealous, and both hated and hating. He knew that everyone who would (initially) read his letter there in the first century was just like him. He understood their sins; he understood they were sinful. He didn’t say these things to guilt them; neither do I. It’s simply a fact. It’s simply one side of who they (and we) were.
Let’s not leave it at that. Paul had been there, done that; so had his friends. You and I have too. So has Pope Francis (or Benedict XVI, wherever he is). So was Billy Graham, and your sainted grandmother, my best friend, and that newborn baby who’s crying to be held. It’s ingrained into our psyches, part of who we are when we are born, and until we accept Christ’s Holy Spirit into us, it’s who we are, even when we try to do good. When we’re ‘there,’ doing ‘that,’ ‘that’ is sin. Yet when we embrace Jesus, EVERYTHING changes.
Holy Spirit redefines us, eliminates the hold sin has on us, eliminates the consequences of death that sin places on us. He removes it and washes us clean from what tarnished us before. Where ‘been there, done that’ had once been our mission statement, it now becomes common ground on which we can reach out to others so that they, too, might receive Jesus’ Spirit and all the good He gives. It’s our pedigree to serve in amazement the God who makes everything new.
Just one verse ago, Paul reminded his friends to be subject to authorities so that others might follow God, too. Here, in verse 3, he reminds us why we should. Even the authorities have been there, done that. Even they need Christ like we do. So, today, when you’re at work and overwhelmed, or when you’re dealing with your kids and you’re frustrated, or you’re alone and lonely, remember that we’ve all been there and done that. Jesus makes it all new.
For further reading: Ephesians 4:31, Titus 3:4
Lord, forgive my sins and wash me clean.