In her book Holiness, Nancy Leigh DeMoss (she wrote Lies Young Women Believe and the Truth That Sets Them Free) addresses this issue with her story of facing her own sinfulness rather than constantly focusing on others' sins. It's a long excerpt, but I promise it's well worth your time:
Growing up as I did in the evangelical world, trained to "live right," and immersed in Bible study, church, and Christian friends and activities, one of my greatest personal struggles has been to see myself as a sinner and to see my sin as truly detestable.
I can attest that when we cease to sense the seriousness of our sin, we also cease to be moved by the wonder of Christ's sacrifice on the cross for sin. Our hearts get dry and crusty - we know that, we've heard that, ho-hum, same-old, so what? We'd never say those words, of course - but truth be told, I know all too well what it's like to hear one more sermon about God's amazing grace, sing one more song about the wondrous cross, go through one more Communion service...and be strangely unstirred by the whole thing.
As I have worked on this book, the Lord has graciously given me a greater sense of the sinfulness of my sin. I recall one particular evening when I was struck with the image of my sin as spiritual adultery against God; I was overcome with what it cost Him to forgive sins I had committed so casually and hadn't seen to be a "big deal." In the light of His holy presence, sins I had minimized or thought I could "manage" seemed monstrous. I was faced with my depraved heart in a way I had not seen it for far too long.
In that moment, God granted me the gift of brokenness and repentance; I began to sob, feeling myself to be a sinner desperately in need of God's mercy...
As I reflected on that tender time of contrition and confession, I had an overwhelming sense of gratitude and wonder - I could hardly believe that He would be so merciful to me. I also had to admit that, though I could think of occasions when I had wept over the sins of others, I could not remember the last time I had wept over my sin.
I'm not suggesting that God intends for His children to live under the weight of sin that has been confessed, or that we should seek gut-wrenching, emotional experiences. But I am convinced that periodically every believer needs to be given a fresh glimpse of the corruption of in-dwelling sin, apart from which the mercy, the grace, and the cross of Christ cease to be precious in our eyes.
I believe this is very common within the church today. There are many "hard and crusty" hearts that are lifted up in self-righteousness, myself included. My beautiful sisters in Christ, may we never become so hardened to our own sin that we become ineffective in ministering to others and spreading the gospel of Christ!
"Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men's bones, and of all uncleanness. Even so ye also outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity."
- Matthew 23:27-28
"Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me. Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit. Then will I teach transgressors thy ways; and sinners shall be converted unto thee."
- Psalm 51: 10, 12-13
In Christian Love,