We see this clearly in other cultures from the young American sentenced to hard labor in North Korea, and ultimately killed over what amounted to minor vandalism, to examples of sharia law. But we also have examples in our own nation of injustice. It's harder to look at those, more painful to examine our own failures than it is to point at others.
We do the same thing with our individual sin. The enemy delights in pointing out the shortcomings of others, whether they are in positions of power in government or the church, or whether they are sitting next to us in traffic, in worship, or in the office. It is so much easier to see the sin in others than to listen to the still, small voice of the Holy Spirit pointing out our own need for repentance and grace.
And just as God provided sanctuaries where one might take refuge, He also provides the power and the grace to recognize, repent, and overcome the strongholds of sin in our life.
Our pastor's message this morning from the first chapter of Galatians was perfectly tuned to this same concept. Our repentance and our efforts to root out sin are never going to be enough to earn God's favor -- and thankfully, Christ has done everything needed for our salvation. The Holy Spirit empowers us to overcome sin so that our joy may be complete and our lives filled with abundance. If we are depending on our efforts to be "good enough" rather than on Christ's work, we will find ourselves constantly frustrated and exhausted. There aren't enough hours in the day to do all the "good" things that we "should" do. And even those efforts will never be enough to earn our salvation.
But when we rest in Christ's finished work, and allow the Holy Spirit to guide us to do the things that He has called US to do, the "good works He prepared beforehand that we might walk in them," as it says in Ephesians 2, then we are empowered rather than overwhelmed. We are satisfied, rather than seeking. We are at peace, rather than constantly pursuing one more thing to make us happy.