My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have one who speaks to the Father in our defenseJesus Christ, the Righteous One. He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world. –1 John 2:1-2
Last fall I experienced a very disappointing, disillusioning series of events regarding something that ought to be free from that sort of problem: Boy Scouting. You’ve heard the old dig, thrown at people who are perceived to be a little too straight-laced, right? “You’re such a Boy Scout.” If those people only knew how Scout leaders can behave.
My problem arose because I’m naive. Or maybe because I try to see the best in people. I’m not sure. As a volunteer charged with overseeing training in our area, I had several people working on my staff. One of them was getting some flak from the people up the food chain. As I typically would do, I stood up for my team member, defending actions, decisions, etc. Then I discovered that this person had been working behind the scenes to undermine me, complaining about nonsense issues and concocting even more nonsense. I felt betrayed, in general, but especially after I’d defended this person.
It’s great to have allies. When my long-time office mate received a promotion recently, I mulled over the prospect of her leaving. Then I realized that I would have a friend in high places–most useful. She’ll speak on my behalf when the time comes. Similarly, I have mixed feelings about my long-time assistant dean retiring. He’s been a good advocate for me for eight years. Who knows what the new person will be like?
The one constant in all this is the constant advocacy of Christ. Unlike my unpleasant Scouting associate, he won’t stab me in the back. Unlike my office-mate, he can’t be promoted any further. Unlike my supervisor, he will never retire.
What confidence we have as we try not to sin to know that all our sins are always already blotted out. This is the confidence that a child should have as they attempt to ride a bike, doing their best to stay balanced but knowing that Dad will save the day if they fail.