Sin, Not Sins
If you think of yourself and what’s wrong with you simply as your “sins,” then you will mistakenly believe that the solution to your problems is willpower. Your “sins” of greed or lust or gluttony or whatever may be eventually overcome through deliberate hard work, through a bettering of yourself. There’s something in the language, something in the plural usage (sins), that gets people thinking that their problems are small, merely skin deep, and can be solved by themselves.
But when you think of yourself and what’s wrong with you as your “sin” (singular), you see that something deeper (and darker) is going on inside of you. More like a virus. More like a thorough-going sickness that requires treatment from the outside. More like an addiction that requires an intervention. More like false worship that requires the exposure of your false gods. More like the need for a new heart.
The paradigm-shifting realization sets in: My willpower can’t fix this. I have a big problem. My sin is an offense to God, but only God can help me. I need help. I need to be rescued. I need this “grace” you speak of.
Before your friends can appreciate and enjoy grace, they must somehow make the discovery that dwelling inside of them are not a few “sins” that can be tamed through a to-do list, but “sin” which requires something much more radical than taming: forgiving.