That’s the name of a Netflix drama series about two women in prison, based on a book by Piper Kerman, Orange is the New Black: My Year in a Women’s Prison. After my own 14 years of leading women’s Bible studies at the local jail, I guess I could write something like “We all wear orange–some wear it on the outside, some on the inside.” Not as catchy though…
While reading through the book of Luke this morning, I was caught by the story of Peter’s denial of Jesus. So I landed on it for awhile. I realized that only the Gospel of John records Peter’s restoration. They say Mark got his info from Peter, so why didn’t he tell the rest of the story? It was a private act, so maybe Peter just wanted to forget about it and move on.
A lady at jail was telling that she was in for a few months. Another inmate at the Bible study asked what she did and the first responded, “I’m not proud of what I did and I’m ashamed to talk about it.” Doesn’t that describe all of us?
Maybe that’s why we don’t talk much about sin. When Adam and Eve sinned, they hid. That’s what we do. Or we redefine sin or play the victim card or just try to pretend it didn’t happen or wasn’t a big deal. You’d think we’d talk more about sin at church though. It’s kind of a big deal. We all wear orange and it silently eats us up, unless we run to Jesus.
So, looking at Luke 22, I’m going to mention a few things about sin to chew on:
- Satan wants us to mess up. “Simon, Simon Satan demanded to have you, that he might sift you like wheat.” Luke 22:31 Satan hates us and is out to destroy us. Don’t underestimate him or take his schemes lightly. He is a roaring lion and wants to eat us for lunch.
- But Jesus prays for us that our faith may not fail, according to Luke 22:32. That’s the good news. Jude 24 declares “Onto Him who is able to keep us from falling and to present us faultless.” Whew. Jesus intercedes for us and uphold us with His mighty hand. He guards us and sticks up for us against the bully Satan.
- We all sin and fall short. 1 Corinthians 10:12 reminds us, “Let anyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall.” I’m not any better than the women in orange. So I can’t point fingers, be smug, and say “I would never do that.” I could. Maybe that’s why God didn’t leave out the flaws of the people in the Bible stories. He told us that Abraham lied (twice) about Sarah being his wife, or that Noah got drunk and sat in his tent naked, or Samson spilled the secret of his strength and went south fast, or David looked at Bathsheba and got really tangled up with sin. Maybe it’s not about whether or not we sin, it’s about how we deal with it. Plus, it’s what makes grace so amazing. If we never really messed up that bad, the song would be “mediocre grace, how okay the sound, that saved an average person like me.”
- On my own, I am capable of great sin. That’s maybe part of 3. In 2 Chronicles 32:31 we find a story about a king Hezekiah. He did a lot of good things, but at the end of his life he was proud. So God lifted His hand from Hezekiah for a short while to show Hez what was really in his heart. Pride. He showed the envoy from Babylon the Temple treasures, only to have them return and take the treasures not much later. So when Jesus told the disciples in Luke 22:40 to “pray that you may not enter into temptation” and then again in vs. 46 after they fell asleep to “wake up and pray,” He meant it. Be alert, wake up and pray.
- Our sins, failures and restorations are a part of our grace story. It’s God’s grace story. When we are actually honest and vulnerable and tell what we’re ashamed of, we find freedom and so do others. Jesus told Peter in Luke 22:32 “when you have turned again, strengthen your brothers.” When we tell of God’s great grace at work in our lives not leaving out our flaws, others are strengthened.
Perhaps our gatherings would be more real, honest and authentic if we talked more about sin and our restorations. We all wear orange.