In college I had a roommate who was always complaining about her weight. She said she ate like a bird and felt cheated by the metabolism gods. She was less than rigorously honest. At some point in the year my boyfriend and I went to Hershey Pennsylvania and brought back a big pack of chocolate and peanut butter Easter eggs. They were enormous in size. 36 of them to be exact. They disappeared in one night. I ate zero of them. My roommate ate 36 of those things in one sitting.
The next morning I noticed and said, “Hey, what happened to all those Easter eggs?”
“I don’t know what you mean!” She replied, gazing over my right shoulder and unconsciously swiping at the corner of her mouth. Boy, could I relate to her. I struggle with honesty on many levels; I am particularly good at self-deception. But if we are going to make changes, honesty is a required component of any recovery program.
If we claim, “We don’t have any sin,” we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. 9 But if we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from everything we’ve done wrong. 10 If we claim, “We have never sinned,” we make him a liar and his word is not in us. 1 John 1:8-10 CEB
Sin is such a big word. If this word triggers you, think about it like this. Sin are those ways in which we live independently of God. What are those character traits, behaviors, and ways of living and loving that do not reflect God of your understanding? Something as innocuous as eating a bunch of Easter eggs as a way to fill loneliness and then denying the behavior is a form of living independently of God. It’s not a serial killer kind of sin, but it still distracts us from living a healthy, reasonably happy life. Notice that 1 John doesn’t say “never sin”; 1 John says tell the truth about the ways we live independently of God and see where that takes us. My friend and I struggled to tell the truth about ourselves as young women among the first of our gender to attend a highly competitive male-dominated college campus that had just recently become co-ed. I stopped eating; she did the opposite. Oh how I wish someone had helped us understand that our eating wasn’t the problem; oh how I wish someone had noticed the toll it took on women to be trailblazers on a campus where the men preferred to fetch their women for weekend frivolties on road trips rather than compete for grades with them in the classroom. Here’s my point: often the “issue” isn’t the “issue” and we may need help unpacking what’s really going on with us.