Our reaction to sin often depends on the perspective we’re evaluating it. On the one hand, there might be a sense of pride as we’re backing out of our old life and we see how far we’ve come. On the other hand, it makes us sick as we’re turning around and we’re considering how far we’ve still missed the mark from God’s holiness. While certainly backing out of sin is better than not, it seems turning toward God is even better, though perhaps this is a mark of maturity that simply comes with time.
To be sure, it’s worth celebrating when we’re no longer making a mess of things in the same way we used to do. And early in our journey, as we’re still backing out of our old lifestyle, this might be our only point of comparison. We see how bad things were and we’re glad to no longer be there. But as we’re still facing our past – pride and complacency can quickly sneak into our hearts. We settle for being not as bad as we once were.
At some point in our journey of maturity we turn around to face God. And with our eyes now squarely on him, we start to judge our heart and actions based on his holiness and not merely our past selves. And from this perspective we can see much clearer the ugly stain of our sin. All the same, we must be careful not to condemn those who have not yet gained this point of view – looking down on them for merely backing out and making small victories when we see how much ground still needs to be covered.
In the end, celebrate the change when you’re backing out of your old life and you’re no longer who you used to be. But continue your journey to turn fully around – now facing the loving gaze of Christ and moving in his direction for your life.