The Israelites were not happy with God’s prophet speaking judgment, so they employed their own prophets who would eschew judgment and proclaim “‘Peace,’ when there is no peace” (Ezekiel 13:10). We do the same with our words. The Oxford University Press removed “sin” from its latest edition of the Oxford Junior Dictionary. “To reflect the fact that Britain is a modern, multicultural, multi-faith society,” explained the publisher. Or because we want to sin without calling it sin.
“What’s in a name?” asked Shakespeare’s Juliet, “that which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” You can smell sin, too, even if you remove its name. It always smells a little cheap, mimicking what is real, but not quite. We call it ambition when it is really greed; we speak of a choice, but it is really a life; we share concerns, but we are really gossiping; we call it holiness, but it is really hypocrisy. “When a flimsy wall is built, they cover it with whitewash, therefore tell those who cover it with whitewash that it is going to fall” (Ezekiel 13:11). Paint over it, rename it, or do not name it at all, we cannot fool God and we do not fool ourselves; but we make ourselves fools, and it destroys who we are.
The true prophet speaks judgment and calls out Israel’s sins by name, not to destroy them, but to restore them, “I will do this to recapture the hearts of the people of Israel, who have all deserted me for their idols” (Ezekiel 14:5). God’s Word will restore us, too, should we listen.
God, I need You. I try (sometimes) to do what is right, but even then, it’s just okay. Way too often, I don’t even try. I sin, God. I do wrong, and I know it is wrong. No matter how hard I try, I cannot be good enough. Deep down inside, I know what good is. I know You are good, and You made me to be good, but I keep doing things my way instead of Your way. I need a Savior. I need Jesus Christ and His righteousness.
I am going to stop trying to be good on my own, and I am going to call sin sin, and turn away from it. You have offered me Your goodness, Your righteousness, through the life, death, and resurrection of Your Son, Jesus Christ, my God and Savior. I put my life, all of my life, in Your hands. Change me as You will.