Saturday, July 30, 2011

Consequences of Sin

I realize that the topic of “sin” is not one that we usually embrace. We would rather hear about God’s love and grace. We don’t want attention brought to something that we would much rather tuck away.

But sin is a reality. It is part of our fleshly nature that we will always strive against. Just when we conquer one area of sin in our life, along comes another that we need to work on. It really is a lifelong process.

The funny thing about sin is that we tend to put it into categories. We believe one type of sin to be greater than another. We even dismiss or defend some types of sin because well, there is always an exception, right?

But let’s face it, when it comes right down to it, sin is sin. It doesn’t matter what level you try to put it at or what category you try to fit it into, no one sin is any worse than another.

I know that some are arguing with me…isn’t murder much worse than lying? No, sin is sin. However there is something to sin that does make it different. It’s not the act of sin, it is the consequences.

Yes, the consequences of sin will vary. Someone who commits murder will have the consequences of facing prison time. Someone who lies will have the consequences of another losing trust in them.

This reminds me of the very first time in my life I was presented with the gospel message. I was 19 years old, living on my own and definitely living it up. I was the party girl. Then one day I was walking through the Grand Avenue Mall in downtown Milwaukee, pushing my little cousin in his stroller when I ran into a guy about my age with the bluest eyes you ever saw.

His name was David and he belonged to the “Good News Messengers.” They were outside the front of the mall with their sign and handing out tracts. I couldn’t believe this guy was “religious.”

Long story short, he stopped me in my tracks and began to share the gospel message with me. He asked if I knew for certain that I would go to heaven if I were to die. I couldn’t deny it…I didn’t know for certain. In fact, I was more than sure that I wouldn’t go to heaven.

So for the next hour I listened to him read passages to me out of the Bible. Then he handed me a New Testament Bible with his phone number written inside. We quickly became friends and he began to introduce me to what I thought was a very strange world. He attended a “church” that met in a home and weekly went to a singles group.

I have to be honest and admit that my interest was strictly in him, not in the good news of salvation. So I tolerated his preaching and his desire to see me saved. I even allowed him to get rid of my music selection, which he said was not good for me.

Then after a few months of really getting to know one another, he threw a bombshell on me. He was going to prison. Prior to getting saved he had committed arson on several large businesses. He never got caught. But then when he came into a relationship with Jesus, he decided to confess his sins.

I couldn’t believe what I was hearing…why in the world would you admit to something you had never been caught for? Can you see how the message of Christ really hadn’t gotten to me? And then I asked him, if this following Jesus thing is so real, then why does he have to go to prison? Suddenly I didn’t see the “good” in being a follower of Christ. I didn’t understand there were still consequences to his sin.

He did go away to prison for 10 years. We stayed in contact for a short time and then I finally stopped answering his letters. To this day I still have the Journal article that was written about him, how he had admitted to his crimes.

It wouldn’t be until a decade after that I would walk into Oak Creek Assembly of God and experience a change in my life that I have never walked away from…loving and serving the Lord Jesus Christ.

But the real point is that even though he had changed the direction of his life, there were consequences to his sin. And it goes back to my earlier point that no sin is greater than another…it’s just that we will have to face varying consequences.

Photo by Kyle and Kelly Adams in Flickr

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