If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves.
I John 1:8
We call them Zebras at our clinic. They’re black and white thinkers-people who believe that everyone in their lives-themselves included-is either a complete saint or a complete sinner. The trouble with this mentality is that it keeps people from looking at their lives realistically. If they see themselves as saints, they just can’t accept the fact that they really did something wrong. Or they may flip to the stance of “Well if I did that, then I must be a sinner, so I might as well give in to it.” These people often hide their pain with addiction, which drives them further down the “all good” or “all bad” road. When they’re yielding to sin, they’re bad but when they’re not they’re good.
Our job with the “saint-sinner” client is to gently help them see themselves as whole people, capable of doing almost anything. We point out that it takes arrogance for a person to believe she is either the worst sinner or the best saint in the world. Humility is the key for the black-white thinker. We must help them realize that we are all sinners saved by grace.
Thought: I am neither all good nor all bad, but a sinner saved by grace and a saint through the righteousness of Jesus Christ.