Mere months after being saved in 2015, I was standing next to my husband in a new congregation singing “Amazing Grace“ with fellow Christians. I was rejoicing with praise to our Lord but the word wretch grated against my sinful pride with such strength that I remember I couldn’t even bring my lips to mouth those words when they flashed across the screen to sing.

It is amazing how sin can powerfully harden your heart to truth. Standing there, gripping the pew in front of me and stubbornly refusing to refer to myself as a “wretch,” (which makes me laugh now!) I was brimming with sinful pride.

But I was a wretch standing there in my silent protest mentally thinking of all the ways I wasn’t a wretch. And this will sound ugly to your ears if you aren’t a believer and understand this truth but you too are a wretch because as humans, we have been born into this world with sin since the Great Fall and that sin makes us wretched and filthy before God’s holiness. But THANK OUR WONDERFUL GOD, He had a plan from the very beginning to fix all of that. He sent His one and only Son to live like us and among us … Jesus experienced all of the same temptations of sin that we do throughout our lives but He remained sinless. He would go on to selflessly die for you and me as the ultimate offering to God. Through that spilled blood offering of Christ, we are washed spotlessly clean of any sin and His blood breaks down the barrier that sin (wretchedness) created between us and God. Praise the Lord!

Amazing grace, how sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me
I once was lost, but now I am found
Was blind, but now I see

– Hymn penned by John Newton in 1779

I remember months later the worship team at our church started playing that song again and the Holy Spirit drenched my soul with humbled praise and I sang those truthful words aloud with grateful tears streaming down my face.

Pride was the first sin God used in refining my heart. What was yours?