Are others as messed up as you?

Being aware of your own sin can improve your relationships.

I realize that might sound counter-intuitive. When we think of sin we tend to think about how it makes things worse, not better.

Yes, I understand that.

But those who appreciate the gravity of their own brokenness tend to be less judgmental and superior. They tend to be more understanding when others mess up. Plus, they’re quicker to be compassionate.

In 1 Timothy 1:15, Paul writes: “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst.” After having summarized a significant laundry list of his own sins, he shares the good news that Jesus saves people like him.

He then says he is the “worst” sinner. The Greek is in the present tense. He doesn’t say he USED to be the worst, but IS the worst. And he says this while living as a passionate servant of God!

Speaking at a conference with his usual humility, wit and intelligence, Sam Allberry said: “When you know your own heart, it really is harder to believe there is someone else out there more messed up than you are.”*

That’s what was going on with Paul. And it’s what can happen in us.

Do you know your own heart?

In my experience, people who tend to downplay their own sin (or, at least, not take it seriously) are those who most frequently point it out in others. When it comes to relationships, that’s not always a great recipe for success.

Can we forget about sin? No. But neither can we forget about humility, understanding, and compassion.

Being aware of your own sin can improve your relationships.


–*Sam Allberry originally delivered this line in a talk to TGC’s 2020 Bay Area Pre-Conference titled “Sexuality, the Church, Grace, and Truth,” expounding Mark 10:28–30. Posted March 8, 2021 here.

–Bible quotes are from the NIV.

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