One of the great lies of modern culture is that if you mostly mean well, everything will end up good in the end. The world says that if you have good intentions, and you do nice things here and there and the good mostly outweighs the bad, you’ll end up OK. No matter that you neglected your children, no matter that you spoke disrespectfully to your parents. No matter that you lied here and there, and cheated a little on the side. No matter that you spun things to make yourself look better than you really are. No matter that you did end runs around your husband or your wife, to get what you wanted before they could object, before they could stop you.
But Jesus says that men reap what they sow. One day you will wake up with a field full of thistles and weeds, and it will not be a great mystery how it happened. Your daughter will run off with a man who at least pays attention to her. Your son will run off to some place where people actually respect him. Your marriage will dissolve in silence and coldness or go up in flames overnight. You can’t plant the seeds of selfishness and evil and then hope the flowers of righteousness will grow magically. You can’t refuse to pull the weeds of sin and then be surprised when all the flowers are overgrown and dead. It’s not a great mystery. It’s folly. It’s insanity.
But the only thing that interrupts this pattern is grace. The only thing that interrupts this cycle is Jesus. And the first sign of grace is being able to see how you do this to yourself and to your family. This means owning your own sin, owning all of it, not hiding from any of it. As long as you pretend it’s not there, as long as you pretend it’s much smaller and not really a big deal, you are still being stupid. You are still playing the game. You are still planting weeds and hoping for roses. But when you see your sin in all of its insanity: drunkenness, lust, anger, adultery, lies, bitterness. When you own it, and let it fall on your head, then and only then, does Jesus step in and take it all away. That’s the grace that conquers sin. That’s the grace that sets you free.