A few days ago, I was having a conversation with one of my good friends. We started talking about the issue of drinking before the age of 21, and she told me a story about someone she knew. She had a friend in college who, when he was twenty, had only friends that were 21 or older. He was a very holy man, but would occasionally have a casual beer with his buddies. She pulled him aside one day to ask him a simple question. “Why do you drink if you aren’t of age yet?” He explained that he didn’t see how twenty-four hours between an illegal drink and a legal one was significant enough to make him stop drinking for a few months. They talked back and forth about the subject for four hours. At the end of the conversation, she asked him if he was called to be a saint, to which he replied an obvious yes. She then said something I will never forget.
“Then why are you settling for venial sin?”
As people who work in ministry, we understand the importance of living a life that thrives on Christ and is an outpouring of His love and grace in our lives. We understand the intensity and major consequence of mortal sin. But we usually don’t notice the effect venial sin has had on our lives until we have dug ourselves into a hole that we need a lot of help to get out of.
So why do we settle?
If we are called to something as great as sainthood, and if we know that because we are teachers “that we will be judged more strictly” [James 3:1], then why do we settle for the temporary pleasure of venial sins? The call to sainthood is an invitation to grace that the human mind cannot understand. Maybe this is why we settle – we understand sin. It’s something we can wrap our minds around, and in our weakness and in our flesh, we choose it rather than the holiness we are called to.
The call to sainthood is not a call to human perfection. It’s a call to look to God in the midst of our sin and know that He still loves us.
Maybe drinking isn’t the sin you struggle with. Maybe it’s being an angry and short-tempered driver. Or maybe you struggle with the pride that comes with being a minister to the Lord’s Name. Perhaps it’s lust, or gossip, or judgment, or cheating, or cutting corners to get ahead – whatever your struggle is, you are not alone.
The call to sainthood is not a call to human perfection. On the contrary, it is a call to look to God in the midst of our sin and know that He still loves us. We are sinners, and no matter how hard we try, we will always find ourselves sitting in the same line waiting to confess the same sins. The call to sainthood is a call to Godly reliance and hope in our inheritance as His children. God’s mercy is constantly being poured out on us, and we have the free will to choose His gift. He’s standing at the door of your heart, just waiting to overwhelm you with His love. So let Him in! Don’t settle! [tweetthis]God’s mercy is constantly poured out for each one of us. Don’t settle.[/tweetthis]