May 18th, 2009
Bridges, Jerry. Respectable Sins: Confronting the Sins We Tolerate. Colorado Springs: NavPress, 2007. 190 pp. $18.99. Purchase at Westminster.
Do not read this book if you cannot face reality. Do not read this book if you are not willing to take a cold-hard look at yourself. Do not read this book if you cannot handle the truth. However, if you are of a humble spirit and you want to be more like Christ, then by all means, you need to read this book.
Jerry Bridges cuts through the forest of sin in order too enable us to see the individual trees. The forest is all of the sin, especially the “major” sins we see every day like pornography and covetousness. The trees are the individual sins that comprise the forest. In Respectable Sins, Jerry Bridges speaks some hard truths to the believer regarding the “minor sins” we commit. Dr. Bridges does a magnificent job of performing surgery on the heart of the believer.
Synopsis of Respectable Sins
This book can be split into two major sections. The first section lays the foundation for which Dr. Bridges will ultimately use to break and re-mold his readers. Chapters one and two explain what the Bible says about saints and how sin has disappeared from the American culture. Three, four, and five explain the sinfulness of sin and the cure.
Chapter six is what I am calling the fulcrum chapter of the entire book because it is on this chapter that the entire book hinges. Before, Dr. Bridges pours the foundation in which I referred to earlier. After, Dr. Bridges uses that foundation as a wall to lovingly drive you through with blow after blow.
Chapters seven through twenty provide those blows. It is in these chapters that Dr. Bridges deals with the sins that most Christians (I could easily say that we all struggle with at one point or another) struggle with at various times. The list of “respectable sins” includes:
- Ungodliness (he argues, convincingly, that this is the root of all sin)
- Anxiety and Frustration
- Lack of Self-Control
- Impatience and Irritability
- Envy and Jealousy
- Sins of the Tongue
Chapter 21 concludes with a look at what to do with what was just read.
With a pastors heart, Dr. Bridges leads you to a frightening realization that you are way more sinful than you imagined. Page after page, I found myself realizing more and more how dark my heart could be at times. Yes, I have wept over my sins and I have seen the sinfulness of my sin, but Dr. Bridges took me, thankfully, where very few men have–to the end of myself. It was there that the comforts of the cross were gently applied time and time again throughout the book.
Dr. Bridges writes with honesty and clarity that many strive for but few find. He proclaims over and over that the gospel is for sinners and shows us how we are those sinners. He lovingly proclaims the gospel to the reader as though he knows (I am sure he speaks from his own experiences) the brokeness being experienced.
Personally, there were times I did want to throw the book across the room (he said I might). There were times I was shocked to see myself on some of the pages. I mean, impatience and selfishness were no surprise to me, but ungodliness? C’mon!
This book is a must read for anyone who calls upon the name of Christ. The study guide is an excellent resource for a men’s and women’s study. Any Sunday School class would do well to study this book.