Tattooed saint & sinner, why?
Well, tattooed, that’s pretty obvious – I quite quite a few of them, my way of inscribing the events of my life on the parchment of my skin.
But saint & sinner? Why first “saint”, and not “sinner”? I have more often heard it in that combination, “sinners and saints”. As Paul puts it in Romans 7,
15 For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. 16 Now if I do what I do not want, I agree with the law, that it is good. 17 So now it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me. 18 For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. 19 For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing.
Trust me, I didn’t put it into that order because I think that I’m that saintly that I put the word “saint” first. I’m actualy quite a screw-up. No biggies, but you know, the little things, those every-day buggers. Those that can happen time and again even though you planned and wanted to really really do better next time. And then, ugh! Here we go again… Like, not really gossip, but just a little snide remark (I can breathe sarcasm…) too much, or other crap like that. All of us stuff up, and so I.
God knows that. He knows that I’m a sinner. But he loves me, us, anyway. And he offers us forgiveness, freely, graciously, undeservedly. Because he loves us. It’s as simple as that. So even if I feel like I’m going circles and always do the same stupid things and mistakes again and again, God is patient and will forgive me still each time. And I’m confident that even if it looks like a circle, it’s actually a spiral – it looks like I’m at exactly the same spot again, but I’ve actually move a bit higher, closer to God.
God has thus called me out, called us out – chosen, sanctified, and turned us into saints – justified through his son, Jesus. Instead of focusing on the sinner part (I know that I am), I prefer to focus on that – sanctification and the walk of the disciple; that is, walking in the footsteps of the Master, Jesus. That’s why I put “Saint” first, and “Sinner” second.
Focus on that. The positive: God’s love & grace, the unconditional forgiveness and love offered to all of us. That is what carries us through.