Sin Management Systems

Minding The Gap has been a pleasure for me to connect with you and still is! I’m committed to staying connected and as I do, I want to share thoughts related to present challenges in my life. So the blog is starting up again after an extended break. Thank you for waiting and your interest in Minding The Gap.

I don’t know who did this or where it came from but I received a book in the mail a few weeks ago. At first, I dismissed it. I am a reader but not a prolific one. That may shock some of you but my wife Judy is where that tag fits. And, we have great conversations about what she reads! 

But, here’s a statement from the book I mentioned entitled Fathering Leaders, Motivating Mission by David Devenish. I have to admit before I share it that I made the decision to be open to the author’s message because he was going to tap into or disturb my biases.

Larry Crabb quoted Socrates in his new book Fully Alive who said, “The unexamined life is not worth living.” Well, I decided it’s time for me examine my biases after reading that and pour my energies into this new read by Devenish. By the way, I think the examined life is a huge part of what it means to mind the gap.

Here’s the statement I was excited by. “Revelation precedes methods. If people do not see it, you automatically end up with systems.”

The author is talking about making sure people understand the revelation of God and that it is simply not helpful to transfer methods that have worked in one part of the world to another.

I get what he’s saying because Judy and I have planted two churches and each body of believers have their own cultural identity to be celebrated. The emphasis has always been Jesus and not methods. But I want to redirect Devenish’s statement to another place called Sin Management for another application.

Many of you know I wrote the book Transforming Twisted Thinking and have designed a treatment regimen to work with broken marriages where twisted thinking and behaviors have brought the marriage to its final thread. But whether it’s a treatment process, a church planting process or any other biblically oriented organizational process, they are only systems which can, but not always, end up as Sin Management Systems. How? When they precede understanding revelation.

Frankly, when a method or process ends up as a sin management system, we will use it to manage God and his work in our lives just so we can feel good about ourselves. 

I think there are many well-meaning ministries that unintentionally become nothing more than a SMS if they think process is the key to change. I need to examine me and any system I use to keep from consciously doing that. God will not be and can not be managed. It is the height of twistedness to think he can be. We live by faith and that’s a surrender to trust Him at his word.

The focus is Jesus who said, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life.” I struggle to live this way because I’m well aware of my tendency to turn everything I know about Jesus into a SMS. And when I’m confident I’m not doing that, I’m also aware of how someone else can turn what I say into a SMS of their own. For that I’m not responsible.

The key to change is Jesus in control of my life and how he continues to move toward me with a love that holds me accountable. He’s not about managing sin. He’s about giving me new life, his life to transcend the control sin has on me/us. It’s where we are caught up with Him!

Minding the gap is more than trying to figure out what would Jesus do. To me, it’s my dedication and commitment to look for him when I don’t see him. It’s listening to him when he seems to be silent. It’s leaning on him when he seems to be somewhere else. It’s loving him because he loved me first and wanting nothing to get in the way of that. Nothing. Not any SMS.

I’m so grateful for revelation! God’s Word! And I’m grateful for the Holy Spirit whose job is to reveal Jesus to me because without him, I’d turn everything into a sin management system-the curse of humanity. Thoughts?






10 thoughts on “Sin Management Systems

  1. Thanks for your thoughts Jerry – great to hear from you! Yes, it seems so easy to rely on those SMS’s because then I can have a false sense of being in control somehow – even to point of delusional attempts at manipulating my loving Creator and Redeemer. Lord help us to come to You and commune with you in trust, peace and joy!

  2. I asked Diane the other day if she had seen anything from Jerry on Mind the Gap. Welcome back. So many groups begin with the goal of not managing sin. Very few, as they grow, seem to be able to keep that goal in perspective.
    What began as organic becomes organizational and begs to be managed. In my own life, I find it easier to follow the rules rather than listening to the Holy Spirit. I have begun to understand that about myself in the last few years
    after decades of trying to follow the rules. Times of quiet are now a part of my life as I listen for God and each day is one where I look for his presence.
    There are many days I feel far from him, but his revelation tells me he is with me always. I don’t want to go back to managing sin, but even with me it’s easy to slide back to the organizational. I choose to rest in Jesus and listen to the Holy Spirit. Welcome back and thanks for the thoughts.

  3. “when a method or process ends up as a sin management system, we will use it to manage God and his work in our lives just so we can feel good about ourselves.” Good word. Great warning. Lord help me look for Jesus when I don’t see him.

    1. I’m with you Jeff. Somehow I’m encouraged to know he sees me when I don’t see him. How embarrassed I would be if he’s catching me in a sin management mode rather than enjoying him and being relaxed in his presence. Thank you for responding.