Then & Now - Week of March 29

Don't Fool Yourself - Part 2 of 3
1 John 1:8-10

1 John 1:8-10 Yesterday I heard a former member of the Chicago Cubs take his bitter rantings to the airwaves. As a devoted follower of the Cubs, I had to laugh, because what he said didn't at all match up with reality. And on sports talk radio, newspapers, and water coolers everywhere, Cub fans were saying, Is he serious?

That seems to be what John is saying in 1 John 1:8. If you say you have no sin, you're deceiving yourself. What's particularly interesting about John's tone is that he is talking to believers in this letter. And I don't think these saints honestly thought they were perfect, or without sin.

But in specific situations, when they were confronted with the reality of their sin, they seemed to defend themselves. I've seen this in my own life and in the lives of others. We'll say, Yea, sure, nobody's perfect. I'm a sinner like the rest. But when someone points out obvious sins, we easily find seventeen ways to defend ourselves.

John is saying that this is a dangerous place to be, an unbiblical place to be, a place that, given the promise of 1 John 1:9, is devoid of the forgiveness and grace of God.

There are Christians who set up walls, so that they live in their own little world, where their rules and their systems and their decisions are always right. It's easy to do. You gather only sympathetic friends, none who sharpen you.

It takes courage to allow friends in your inner circle who are bold enough to offer timely, biblical counsel. Friends who will say, "Dude, you're wrong here. You handled that wrong. You need to apologize."

I'm not talking about Negative Nellies. I'm not talking about constant critics. I'm referring to people who lovingly rebuke you at times.

One of the things I've determined to do, as a young pastor, father, author—is to create an inner circle with differing personalities, differing gifts, and integrity. I'm grateful for these guys who at times will stand up to me and tell me I'm wrong. What a gift they are to my life.

I suggest you do the same in any area of life. For those, like John's audience, who grew up in the church, this is hard to do. We've walked the straight and narrow and we've always been told how right we are. Some of that's good, most of it is damaging to our soul.

So if you want to proceed to 1 John 1:9, you first have to go through 1 John 1:8 and find the humility to realize that, in every situation, you're not always right, you could be wrong. 

Daniel Darling is an author, pastor, and public speaker. His latest book is Crash Course, Forming a Faith Foundation for Life. Visit him on Facebook by clicking here, follow on him on Twitter at, or check out his website: