All of us have pet sins – sins that we just can’t seem to get away from. It’s these sins that tend to worry us the most. If we only commit a particular sin once, we feel we can be forgiven and move on. But the sins that we commit over and over are much more troubling. It’s these sins that get under our skin and make us wonder if we’re truly forgiven. They sap away our hope until we’re like the dry bones in Ezekiel 37, with no life in us. We say, “Our bones are dried up, and our hope is lost; we are indeed cut off” (verse 11).
The good news is that, just like the account in Ezekiel, our story is not over. Pet sins are bad, it’s true, but they do not cut us off from hope. In Ezekiel, God says, “Behold, I will open your graves and raise you from your graves, O my people. … And you shall know that I am the Lord, when I open your graves, and raise you from your graves, O my people. And I will put my Spirit within you, and you shall live” (verses 12-14).
Ezekiel’s account mentions only one thing that gives life: the Spirit. If we were raised from the grave, but we were not given the Spirit, we would still be dead. But with the Spirit, we can live again. We have received the Spirit in our baptisms. We may be sinners, but we are also saints. When God looks at us, he sees people with new life in the Spirit. When we look at ourselves, we should remember what God sees. When we see ourselves as God does – when we remember the Spirit in us – we will gain the courage and hope to overcome our pet sins.