Innocent

Not Guilty, Nor Innocent, of Everything.

Ed, my old neighbor from Saskatchewan, has a knack of stretching the truth into more than, the bare truth. Last week Ed said, “Everyone exaggerates the truth, at least, a little. The pure facts may need a little flavor added to them like food needs salt and pepper to season it into something tastier.”

I had told him that I had been bowling and that my games scores were terrible. “That is the kind of truth you don’t share as there is no stretching it into something interesting,” Ed said. Then he asked, “I hope you weren’t one of those kids at school who told the truth when the teacher asked, ‘Who did it?’” I assured Ed that I learned to say that it wasn’t me even before I went to school.

It certainly is easy to plead not guilty by saying, “It wasn’t me.” That does not mean we are always unaware of who did it. It wasn’t me, may also say not this time, but I have done it, other times. It seems innocence should be as clear as seeing ourselves in a mirror. When we look at ourselves in the mirror, we know what we look like, and can identify ourselves without any question. We may tend to act like there is no doubt about our innocence, as if, we are pretty well sinless.

Could it be that we consider others guilty or at blame rather than ourselves? At home, at school, at work, at church or on a team, we may be sure that someone else is the problem, the troublemaker and even the devil in our midst. In the sixth chapter of John, Jesus takes the blame for the Judas in his hand-picked twelve disciples. Jesus said, “Did I not choose you, the Twelve? And yet one of you is a devil.” He was referring to Judas, son of Simon Iscariot. Jesus had allowed Judas Iscariot in his closest disciples knowing Judas would betray him.

Judas betrayed Jesus to his captors with a kiss for thirty silver coins. That did not make the other eleven disciples innocent of betraying Jesus in other ways. Peter betrayed Jesus when he was on trial. He denied being one of Jesus’ disciples three times in the courtyard of the high priest. The other ten disciples fled and deserted Jesus after he was arrested and was being led away by the soldiers. None of the twelve were innocent, and not even one was guiltless of the sin of betraying Jesus. None of us can stand sinless before God. Thankfully, with God, there is forgiveness for all sinners, through faith in Christ.

God is holy and hates sin, but we have a sinful nature. Sin entered the world through Adam and Eve and caused and still causes murder, adultery, theft, slander, jealousy, greed, drunkenness, hatred, factions, and the like, worldwide. Adam brought sin to all, but Jesus came to bring forgiveness from sin. Jesus gives a God-given-innocence or righteousness to all who will accept it. God declares sinners righteous for the sake of Jesus, that is our sins have been charged to Jesus, the Savior; and His righteousness has been credited to us. Christ Jesus came to save sinners because we all need it.

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Raymond Maher
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