“Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you” (Matthew 7:7)
To man, there are degrees of sin. There are sins about which we post angry messages on social media or for which we sign our names boldly to petitions. We carry signs in protest, marching around for the cause. We lock arms in solidarity and unify ourselves in the intent to degrade, overthrow, and cast out. At the other end of the spectrum, there are sins we hardly even view as sins. We explain them away with a coy smile. We provide a litany of reasons as rationales or emotional appeals to excuse and, oftentimes, even sanction behaviors, and we feel better and have a sense of camaraderie when our peers “understand” where we are coming from, giving us carte blanche to sin (if we’d even call it sin) again.
But to God, sin is sin.
I sat through an afternoon after lunch presentation yesterday where the presenter was very long-winded. I found my mind wandering, so I started fiddling with my cell phone and checking my email. The presenter couldn’t tell what I was doing in my little space in the room (at least I don’t think so), but all of a sudden, in the midst of a negative thought, I realized I was sinning. Regardless of the reason, I needed to stop.
“If ye fulfill the royal law according to the scripture, ‘Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself,’ ye do well” (James 2:8).
It’s not sinful to check your email or send a text message, but it is a sin if you would not want someone to do that while you are presenting. “But you’re not like murdering someone,” you may argue, but what would God say? Remember, this is the same God who punished Moses when he decided to strike the rock instead of speaking to the rock (Numbers 20). Moses sinned in not doing what God told him to do, and we sin when we don’t do what God tells us to do.
In my early morning devotion yesterday, I prayed once again that God reveal me to me. He answers prayer, and that’s why a mirror was thrown up in my face mid-text message in that meeting.
I really want to go to heaven, and the more I ruminate on it, the more passionate the desire burns within me. I’m finding myself less concerned about man and what he has to say. I’m finding my motivations powered by faith. I’m thinking more. I’m saying less. I’m watching more. I’m judging less. And when I sin, I’m starting to see it easier and faster. And guess what? It just doesn’t sit as easily with me as it used to sit.
I’m asking God to show me the palatable sins in my life that I may earnestly repent and change my mindset, emotional pull to them, and comfort in them. We all have them (i.e., rounding our tithe down, getting angry with a fellow traveler on the way to work, demonizing a celebrity for his/her public sin, avoiding a coworker who we just don’t like, etc.), but that doesn’t make it all right with God.
As a growing Christian, I’m learning to confront sin, even the sin I never really acknowledged as sin, with more thought and prayer, knowing that doing so, truly repenting, and changing means that I am growing closer to Him. I can’t be content with just saying that I believe in God. James tells us, “Good, and guess what?” (I’m paraphrasing) “the devils also believe, and tremble” (James 2:19). We must do something to illustrate that faith, and doing something means acknowledging that what’s palatable to us is abhorrent to Him.
Friend, let’s take those self-imposed blinders to our palatable sins off and confront our sin with the courage and faith needed to eradicate it from our lives. We are human, but that’s no excuse. God is merciful, but let’s not take that for granted. True appreciation for His graces and mercies is found in our earnest action.
“But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.” (James 1: 22)