There is a modern, psychological take on sin that’ll harm you if you put it into practice. It says your first goal should be to understand your anger, lust, inability to forgive, etc. I’ve caught wind of this atmosphere in 21st century American Christianity; it maintains that an individual should first plumb the depths of his rage or his pornography-watching. He might journal about it, ask himself if his parents might’ve caused it, or even give himself space to let it out.
But if you look for what God prescribes in the Bible for people trapped in sin, you’ll see that the first step one should take is to repent of it. If a man humbles himself and acknowledges he is wicked and God is holy, he’s headed somewhere.
Don’t get me wrong, why I’m angry or bitter is important, and journaling and looking objectively at my past is good; but our narcissistic day seems to be breeding a narcissistic approach to the Christian life. The root cause of our sin is our doubt of and enmity towards God, and the only cure is His Son’s transformative grace. Self-centered analysis and self-centered treatments aren’t going to do much good. The very first thing I must do in response to my sin is to confess and turn from it.
Falling on my face in humble prayer to Jesus will do far more good than psychoanalysis.
And of course that’s how it has to be.
After all, the reason I exist is to delight in and glorify God more, not to understand myself better.