I ran a stop sign.
Even if I didn't know I did, I did.
Even if I didn't think I did, I did. The citation tells me so.
Even if I wish the policeman were dealing with speeders (of which we have many) or other lawbreakers, I still did.
Even if I could redefine the word "stop" to mean something like "pause, I still did. Guilty.
Guilty. No excuse, blame-shifting, ignorance, or ignoring the clear standard will clear my name. I'm guilty.
And it's the same way in our spiritual lives. We're guilty of sin. We can plead ignorance. We can make excuses. We can point the finger at others. We can compare ourselves to others. We can deny that sin is really sin.
But we're guilty.
And there's only one plea we can offer: nolo contendre. No contest. Guilty. Without a leg to stand on.
But it's when we do that the grace of Jesus is given to us. Pride is smashed in our penitence, and grace drops like confetti at God's parade of forgiven children. Instead of aridity and sweltering summer heat, there is refreshment in the bones [Ps. 32].