I was on holiday when I realised I should probably stop being a faithful cheerleader of Team Sin. I say a LOT of things that I wish I hadn’t but whilst on holiday (went to the lovely land of Portugal) what came out of my mouth caused me more guilt than I’ve felt in a long while.
I was having dinner and had just met my all-time fave waitress. She was being so friendly and we really hit it off, having a good ole chit chat about love, and life, and all things in-between. Everything was going smoothly until she told me her philosophy, which started off make a whole lot of sense, (basically treat people how they treat you) but then went on to include sleeping with other guys if your partner chose to sleep with other girls.
I never really know what to do when strangers randomly bring up sex into conversation, so I panicked. We’d really hit the ground running with our blossoming ‘friendship,’ I didn’t want to be an awkward prune and show how uncomfortable I felt. The cogs in my brain started working overtime, only for me to come out with the most ill-thought out response. There we were, a stranger laying bare what she would do in the hypothetical situation of being cheated on , and I nodded approvingly and said ‘yeah you’ve got to play them at their own game.’
What does that even mean?
Why am I condoning things I know are sinful?
For the rest of the evening I couldn’t quite believe my actions. All I could imagine was Jesus wincing, as I chose to ditch my beliefs in favour of normalcy. Here’s what I learnt from my moment of madness…
1.When Jesus say no, nobody can say yes
Disclaimer: Yes I know the song goes, ‘When Jesus say yes nobody can say no’, but I think my remix holds true. We’re so used to not imposing our beliefs on others that every so often we shift from standing on the moral fence and end up justifying actions that we know are wrong. Wrong is wrong, it’s better to give no comment than to start leading people astray. Wanting to find common ground with someone doesn’t warrant encouraging them to sin.
Do not cause anyone to stumble, whether Jews, Greeks, or the church of God. 1 Corinthians 11:32
It’s as though we categorise sin and our attitude towards it based on what religious preferences people have. This results in us voicing our disapproval amongst like-minded Christ followers and yet sometimes encouraging sin amongst those who don’t believe. Sin is offensive to God, period. It doesn’t matter who is committing the sin, God would rather they weren’t. This prohibits us, as people working for God, from promoting sin as a worthwhile activity. (just thought I’d add: working for God can’t really be opted out of, you get recruited to the team when you give your life to Christ and you don’t get fired even when you’re bad at your job)
2.It doesn’t have to be dog eat dog
Most of us know that we are each judged by our own sin.
Parents are not to be put to death for their children, nor children put to death for their parents; each will die for their own sin. Deuteronomy 24:16.
Knowledge of this and scriptures like these has lead us to the point where its every man for himself in the struggle to; sin not, only believe. But that’s not the way it should be. I’ve spoken about our duty to help one another as brothers and sisters in Christ before, but whether people are Christian or not, our interest in wanting to see them live right isn’t diminished. I firmly believe that soapbox evangelism might not be a 24/7 activity, however our duty to evangelise, in general, is constant.
I remember when I first developed a passion to serve Christ. I was so consumed with the love of God and wanting others to experience that love, that I used to set myself targets of seeing people get saved that month. As I’ve matured I’ve learnt that being a fisher of men doesn’t actually come down to hard numbers, but you can see that my heart was in the right place. You are not saved so you can live a comfortable life in isolation, and everyone around you can perish. If you really believed in the Good News you claim, you’d want others to hear about it also. I don’t think it’s about finding a megaphone, God doesn’t operate on ‘who shouts the loudest must love him the most’, but it’s about finding opportunities to share what you believe.
3. Sin = death
Hold your horses before you start hyperventilating. There’s sin, and there’s sin. No there isn’t a hierarchy of sin; lying to your parents, murder, robbery, is the same in God’s eyes. However there’s sin: the things you do that are displeasing to God, and there’s sin: not accepting Christ as saviour. So you can breathe a little, we live under grace, there isn’t a gun being aimed at you every time you make a mistake: with repentance comes forgiveness etc, but that doesn’t mean we have nothing to be concerned about. I’m probably going to sound really radical in what I’m about to say so maybe you should sit down for this next bit if you aren’t already sitting.
Accepting Christ is the only ticket to heaven. It’s probably not going to spark the most friendliest of conversations at a dinner party, and it may not be the line to open with when meeting new people, but it is the truth. The majority of you reading will live in religious pluralist societies in which, thankfully, we’ve all learnt to live together despite our differing faiths. However, being able to accommodate for someone else’s beliefs doesn’t take away the truth of the statement above. The reason that we can’t just chillax because we’ve been fortunate enough to find Christ is that a large number (billions of people in the world) haven’t yet. That doesn’t just mean they don’t get to enjoy how beautiful a life with Christ at the centre can be, it means that life after death, isn’t so rosy either. We often forget that deciding to turn from sin to Christ is a matter of life and death, but I hope this will be the gentle reminder we all need to start taking sin seriously.
Don’t be like me, wanting to appear as ‘normal’ as possible that you encourage people in their sinful actions. Sin might be packaged in a juicy love affair or seemingly justified revenge, but it doesn’t change the facts. Sin’s may not always be criminal offences in the lands in which we all live, but they are as good as to God.
Loving ya longtime,