It has become clear to me lately, that to most Christians, sin is a joke. Yep, that is what I said: MOST CHRISTIANS. Merriam-Webster online defines a joke as 1. Something said or done to cause laughter; 2. A brief story with a surprising and funny ending; 3. Someone or something that is not worth taking seriously. I am thinking of a very insignificant scenario and I don’t even want to share it… Alright, how about speeding? This hits home to me personally every time I am in my van, actually. I have an ingrained inclination to drive just 5MPH over the speed limit at all times. Each time I begin to creep over the posted speed limit, God strikes my mind – “Are you breaking the law?” Of course, I am breaking the law! (Just Google “is the speed limit considered a law”). Then He goes to my heart – “Is it a sin to break the law?”. Yes Lord. Romans 13:1-2 “Every person is to be in subjection to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God. Therefore whoever resists authority has opposed the ordinance of God; and they who have opposed will receive condemnation upon themselves.”
— Should I drop the mic here? —
Still, we joke about this. “Oh you know me, I have a lead-foot! Ha ha!” Let me give another example… How about a young man who is sleeping around? We joke that he is a “lady’s man”. Even better, when our toddlers are disobedient. That 3 year old little girl on the Facebook video that puts her hand on her hip and says “no” to mommy with all that sass. We all giggle over how adorable she is. What is adorable about rebellion? And the woman who leaves her husband for another man because “he treats her better”. We all joke that the husband should have appreciated her while he had her.
Look, I am not saying that we all walk around pointing fingers at each other. The Bible is so clear that there is only ONE Righteous Judge and I AM NOT IT. However, when did we stop weeping and interceding for our friends and family who are in sin? When did sin become a punchline or something not worth taking seriously?
Psalm 1 “How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked, nor stand in the path of sinners, nor sit in the seat of scoffers! But his delight is in the law of the LORD, and in His law he meditates day and night. He will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in its season and its leaf does not wither; and in whatever he does, he prospers. The wicked are not so, but they are like chaff which the wind drives away. Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the assemble of the righteous. For the LORD knows the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish.”
God promises us that the one who meditates on the Word, will stand firm and prosper but the sinner will perish. Does that only apply to our salvation? Accept Jesus and you won’t perish? Reading this chapter of Psalms, it doesn’t seem so. It isn’t a matter of saying a salvation prayer and you are good; you have to delight in the law (Hebrew word Torah: meaning instruction or teaching) of the Lord. That got me to thinking. How can a Christian perish? Anyone out there depressed, anxious, addicted, unsatisfied? Well, that is not God’s design for you!! That is a decomposition of the life God has given you. It is a perishing life.
I have seen many Christians and church leaders try to address this issue but struggled with how. For years, I saw and personally experienced the judgement of other Christians. I was definitely marred by many years of unhealthy relationships (you’d need more than two hands to count the number of my sexual partners). Looking around the ‘church scene’ there were none there like me, at least none that would admit it. They were all so clean. Pristine. Frankly, they didn’t know what to do with me either. Most would tell me not to share my testimony because it was too much. Or they would sit back and wait for me to make the same mistakes again. Part of this was because I was present in church service. They didn’t understand that just because I was attending didn’t mean I was healed. I came because it was my only weak thread connecting me to Jesus. When I was about to give up, I met my friend Amy. She was leading the worship team at the time and I could sing so I figured I would try to join. I was so tired of living a double-life for those past 6-7 years. She asked me a few questions about my personal life and asked me to be completely honest, she would love me no matter what. I told h… I told her that I had a boyfriend that practically lived with me. My boyfriend and I had been together for many years and there was no commitment in sight. Guess what happened next? She loved me anyway. No judgement, just truth. Instead of telling me I was a horrible sinner, she just asked if the relationship was good for me. She invited me to small group and took me out for coffees and discipled me. She always told me the truth and never ever rejected me. Ever. I wouldn’t be who I am if God hadn’t sent her to me or if she wouldn’t have been obedient to Him. Amy never made a joke out of my sin. She took it so seriously that she allowed God to send her on a rescue mission into my life.
I think about this every day as I attempt to parent our five kids. God has sent me in on a rescue mission to my children. Is it cute when my 3 year old pretends not to hear me saying “I don’t hear you”? Well, not really. She is a little sinner and my job is to disciple her every single moment of every single day. Every day counts. I am not guaranteed that my five darlings will wake up every morning. Today may be the last day I get to share the truth with them.
There was a day a few weeks back when I realized that I still want to be liked by my kids. Who doesn’t? What struck me though, is that I compromise the truth – that sin equals death – because I don’t want to be THAT parent. I teach them about sin when they do something really really bad (which for them is like, pulling their entire curtain down during nap). The rest of the time I say “don’t sin, PLEASE” instead of “look, sin is a real problem and you have it. Let me tell you how to deal with that”.
When you look at your life, note who you love more than anyone else. It could be your spouse, sister, brother, children, parents or friends. Is there an area they are struggling with sin? I am not saying look for faults in others… I am saying, you know if a friend is sleeping with her boyfriend, you know if your spouse is struggling with porn, or if your parent is trying to break an addiction. First of all, put the behavior in perspective: IT IS SIN. Then, realize the consequence of it, that relationship with Jesus is being compromised in order to sin. Once you realize the gravity of the situation, drop to your knees and pray for them. Then wait. Wait on the Lord because He will open up the moment to minister to them if you are the one to do it. Keep praying. Everyday. Through the night. Don’t give up. If God uses you to speak to this person, speak the truth and don’t compromise because you are afraid they won’t like you. Then, go back to God and thank Him and pray for them some more. They may have questions that you can’t answer. Great! Then you can find the answers together!! Alternately, if you are the one dealing with sin (like my speeding issue), go to a trusted friend, who will tell you the truth straight-up and confess to them. If you are married, this will not be a friend of opposite sex outside of your spouse. Oh, and teenagers/ young adults, your non-Christian friends will be of no assistance here… You need someone who believes the same thing you do. I don’t know about you, but I am downright DONE with this sin-junk! I want it out of me, as far away from me as possible. I want to be holy. I want Jeremy to be holy. I want my kids to be holy. Not because I want the blue ribbon or something, but because I want to be like the One I love.
“As obedient children, do not be conformed to the former lusts which were yours in your ignorance, but like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior; because it is written, ‘YOU SHALL BE HOLY, FOR I AM HOLY.’ If you address as Father the One who impartially judges according to each one’s work, conduct yourselves in fear during the time of your stay on earth, knowing that you were not redeemed with perishable things like silver or gold from your futile way of life inherited from your forefathers, but with precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, the blood of Christ.”