God is good. All of the time.

Friday, November 09, 2007

I, unfortunately and regretably, am an expert on this subject. I have had so much experience in this field, I may as well have invented the entire concept. Some believe that it all started with a shifty snake in a garden, antagonized by a foolish female, who was then followed by an ill-advised male. They are mistaken. I did, in fact, design what we will be talking about – sin.

Obviously, the above is not true, but my goodness, sometimes it feels as though I could have been the cause and beginning of the most shameful act that forced the rest of humanity into consequence.

I was talking to someone a while back concerning a friend of their’s current living situation. Her friend is shacking up with her boyfriend of several years. I asked this person what her friend tells herself to make this decision okay, to which she replied, after hesitating, shrugging her shoulders, “It’s sin. We all sin. I sin everyday.”

I was somewhat taken aback at this rebuttle, given the person I was having the conversation with. She is well aware of the affect and outcome of living in sin. I don’t believe she actually believed herself what she was telling me; that sin is sin, and we are all guilty. While that statement is true, the intent behind it is not. The premise of that shallow excuse to continue on as our human nature instructs was to defend someone she loves very much; someone she looks up to, and doesn’t want to chastise, even as a friend, and more importantly, a fellow Christ-follower. I seem to recall Jesus instructing the woman at the well, who was also guilty of shacking up, to “go, and sin no more.” He did not say, “go, and take heart in the fact that your friends and family are sinning just as you are.”

When have we become so flippant in our attitude toward sin? Have we used the word so often, had it shoved down our throats by preachers and parents, spouses and siblings, that we no longer understand the result of its power – Satan’s power over us? We go about our personal lives, not even wanting to recognize the depravity of the sin nature, much less address it in ourselves, then in those close to us. But, we have to! If we do not hold each other accountable for the sake of loving that person, and because we are concerned with that person’s relationship with their Savior, we are powerless to ask and receive God’s amazing grace. Without a repentant heart, our prayers are in vain. When a friend hurts you, apologizes, asks for your forgiveness, then turns around in the same breath and hurts you again, it is next to impossible for you to feel forgiving toward them. Granted, God is God and His Son already took all of our sin upon Himself, therefore our unrighteousness is completely hidden from God. But if we continue on in our sin nature, in our iniquity, in our irresponsible decisions, what is the point of Christ’s death on that cross?

Just recently, our pastor gave a sermon dealing with this issue, and I didn’t realize at the time how imperative it really was. His main point was “Until we measure our sin by Who we sin against, we will never have motivation to change.” (That’s paraphrasing) Do we have motivation to change? Do we care that when we live with and sleep with someone out of the context of marriage, that we are making that choice to turn our back to Christ dying in our place? When we choose not to care for our bodies and minds, we are taking the only mortal life we have been given by God and intentionally trashing it? When we lie to cover our own mistakes and irresponsibility, we are flagrantly telling those around us that we can put God in a box – using Him when it’s convenient for us?

Again, I am extremely deft in this thing we call sin. It is so ugly, so demanding, so entwining, so inviting. We can’t avoid it, as my friend pointed out. However, I do believe we can choose to either engage it or fight it with every fiber of Christ’s being in us.  But fighting? Fighting is good for the soul and pleasing to God – and OH MY GOSH, do I encounter grace and mercy when kneeling before the Throne. Do you delight in your depravity, taking advantage of the fact that He has already conquered ALL sin? Or do you delight in said mercy and grace, drowning in it while praising Him for such undeserved love?

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