There Is No Difference

This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference between Jew and Gentile, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.” 
Romans 3:22-24 (NIV)
I do not watch the news. I avoid it at all cost. The more I watch the more anxious and angry I become. One moment I am crying, the next I want to throw every electronic device I own out the window. I am agitated, because I understand the pain and know what it feels like to want to exact revenge, to “make them understand”. The uncomfortable reality of sin is not just of the world, it is of me. There is not a single living person in this world who does not know the pain of selfishness, impulse, and revenge. But, there are many who do not know Jesus. This is where I wrestle. I want to scream at every person who has caused pain, but then I look up and see my face. 

There is no difference between Jew and Gentile, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. I grew up reciting Romans 3:23 as a church kid. It is a short, sweet beginner verse for those who have memorization challenges, tell me I am not the only one who suffers with this? As a kid I memorized it, but as a young adult I discovered the beginning of the sentence. We miss so much when we leave out the beginning. In the beginning temptation and desire led to forbidden fruit eaten and sin ushered in. 

From that moment on we were born into sin, every tribe, nation, and tongue sinners in need of a Savior. Every soul behind the gun, every hand building a bomb, and every thumb poised for the online war, sinners in need of a Savior. Every soul in the pew, preacher on stage, and ministry servant, sinners in need of a Savior. We are the same. We all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. I want to turn it all off and point fingers at the faces behind the guns, bombs, and political frustration. But, then I would have to point the finger at me, because we are no different. My rebellion and anger may not come out the same way, but it all has the same name.

The life takers, shame makers, water walkers, giant slayers, policy changers, and church attenders; we are the same. We live in the painful reality of sin. We have all fallen short of the glory of God.  

There is an ending to this sentence. A strong declaration that sets me apart only because of the blood of Jesus, not by my own doing but His. Justification. I am sealed by the blood of Christ to freely move around in his grace and redemption. I have Him. I have sin. We are the same. The struggle rages inside of me, smash every connection to the outside world and my face staring back at me. The face I see remembers her before. Before Jesus I was a liar, cheat, thief, and recklessly disobedient. 

I am a sinner. I am justified. Both truths live inside of me; the sinner and the saint. I struggle. I fail. I am not different, but I am not who I was. I have justification in Christ, forgiveness from and for my sins. I am bathed in grace and that is what calls me to look. Obedience. To face the screens before me and see individual souls who are in pain, fear, and brokenness. I may want to shut out the pain of this world, but it is those in pain who are crying for help. Reaching for hope, to be seen, heard, and known. 

Behind every heartbreaking action is a heart that is broken, a heart that needs Jesus because we are the same.

Jesus doesn’t keep us from entertaining sin, but he doesn’t shove us out the door to preach either. But, He invites us to trust the equipping of His Spirit in us to invite everyone else.  Jesus invites us in and I think the world really wants to know Him. It may not look like it, but the pain I see and the cries that shatter my heart remind me that Jesus freely redeems every broken heart. We are the same, fallen short of the glory of God. 

- Hannah
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