Thursday, October 18, 2007

What Do You Get When You Squeeze a Christian?

I know I've only been alive for the past twenty years, but I believe that I've learned a few things in my day. I can fix a hole in a pair of jeans, as well as sew on any type of button that has fallen off. I've learned the difference between immigration and emigration, as well as learning how to write papers under high stress and within a short period of time. But one of the more important things I've learned has not been from a specific experience, a professor, or stress. It has been a long, long process, which I do not know if it has been completed yet. I've learned this simple yet profound truth: personal sin is not as personal as we believe it to be.

A man's struggle with pornography does not only affect him in the moment, but will also affect the way he views women. It has the possibility to even affect the way he views his wife, as well as create unreasonable expectations in their relationship. A wife who is continually lazy in her actions loses not only an opportunity to serve her family, but also misses out on being a blessing to them. Bitterness held inside does not only poison the one who holds it, but also disallows the other party to receive forgiveness and reconciliation.

In the book of Genesis, we are shown a prime example of "personal" sin. The account of Sodom and Gommorrah. The two larger cities were so evil as a whole that a holy and righteous God could not allow them to continue. Lot was the only man in the city to be found righteous, and he, along with two of his daughters, were spared.

What happens after this is key. The three of them run to a small town between the cities and the hills. They rest for a while, and continue their journey towards the caves. While in the caves, the daughters get their father intoxicated and sleep with him, in hopes of preserving the family line. Lot's sin of drunkenness as well as his daughter's sins in incest and sexual immorality added up to the birth of the Moabite and Ammonite nations. Why is this important? These two people groups were a thorn in Israel's side for generations.

Fast forwarding to modern-day and getting personal: my sharp tongue does not only reflect the inward state of my heart, but also hurts the person that my words were directed towards. This creates dissonance in the relationship, and will breed only insecurity and shallow conversations until reconciliation occurs. My pride in not admitting my sin only builds and builds until I have a breakdown and my world falls apart. All the while, the original sin continues to occur, and now I have the second of pride to deal with also.

Getting back to what I've learned: personal sin is never personal. It is like a chain that links one action to another. It is like a contagious cold that sneezes and infects everyone in the room. But thanks be to God, for His abounding Grace and Mercy. Lot's line of Moabites was redeemed through Ruth, who was the grandmother of King David. Jesus our Lord was from the line of David, and Savior of the world. I myself cannot claim anything so bold as that, but His grace still abounds with me. My tongue and pride are diminishing as God inside of me is increasing.

So what do you get when you squeeze a Christian? SIN! But then you get the sweetness of grace.