Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Taking the Shock Value Out of Sin

Tuesday August 26, 2013

Lust gets pregnant, and has a baby: sin!  Sin grows up to adulthood, and becomes a real killer.  James 1:13 (TMSG)
In 1973 Dr. Karl Menninger wrote the classic “Whatever Became of Sin”.  In a recent article Dr. James Emery White wrote about Menninger’s message:
Menninger detailed how the theological notion of sin became the legal idea of crime and then slid further from its true meaning when it was relegated to the psychological category of sickness.[1]
“Sliding” is a great way to understand how we lose the shocking value of something which can do us harm.  James used the birth process to describe how sin works.  It begins like a pregnancy, births into actions, and, in the end, brings death (always!).
These slippery slides often proceed quite innocently. 
When our youngest, Carrie, was about five, I was painting the kitchen in the house we’d just moved into.  As our little one walked past me on the ladder, she casually remarked about the uncovered electrical outlets, “I know what happens when you put your finger in there, Daddy.”
Well – she had opened the topic, so I bit, “What happens, punkin’?”
“You get allergic.”

allergic is a far cry from electrocuted!

Allergic, indeed!
In our culture, the shock-effect of sin has devolved to the point where any sense of moral wrong, or its accompanying penalties, have not only been pushed aside as irrelevant, but obliterated from memory as if the shame and consequences of wrong only existed in some cartoon caricature of ancient and regrettable Puritanism.  We have succeeded at taking the killing power of sin and turning it into a minor allergy.
In my role as “Daddy-in-residence” it was my duty to help my daughter understand the difference between electrocution and a rash.  (I must have done well; both my daughters married guys who play with wires for a living).
As a pastor it’s also my job to help us remember to always speak the truth about how our actions have real consequences.  And it’s not just “choices” as if we are somehow morally-isolated from the One who gave us life and the privilege to make those choices. 
When we choose against what God said is right and/or permissible, no amount of “word-dance” (calling sin by a less-shocking title) will take sin’s consequences out of the birth canal.  Once conceived, sin will always go full term; the birth of death – always.
Our culture has disconnected the wires from the power source…don’t fall for that trap.  Make it a point in your prayer life, beginning right now, to name your sin.  Call it what it is, and ask the Father’s forgiveness.  Then, count on what He has promised:
But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness. 1 John 1:9 (NLT)
Don’t confess the “allergy of poor choices” – confess your sins; the Faithful One will cleanse every bit of it.  He said so!

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