20 When you were slaves to sin, you were free from the obligation to do right. 21 And what was the result? You are now ashamed of the things you used to do, things that end in eternal doom. 22 But now you are free from the power of sin and have become slaves of God. Now you do those things that lead to holiness and result in eternal life. 23 For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord.
Dear God, I was thinking recently about some of the things the modern church says you view as sin. And I’m not saying here which sins are which and which sins are seemingly more important to some than others (e.g. homosexuality vs. ignoring the poor). But what I do want to stop and think about is why different things are sins. Why is it a sin to ignore the poor? If homosexuality is on the list, why is it on the list?
I think it’s always been a teaching of the church that you set up the rules for our benefit. They are here so we can be happier and live more fulfilled lives. If we don’t lie, cheat on our spouses, covet, etc. then our lives our better. If we put no other gods or idols before you and observe the Sabbath, then our lives are better. So if we are going to say that not caring for the poor or homosexuality are sins, why did you set them up as things we should guard against?
Well, I’m not going to touch the homosexuality issue–at least not publicly–but what happens to my life if I turn a blind eye to the poor or those who are suffering? How does that hurt me? Well, for this example I go back to 2003. I was living a nice little cocooned life worshipping you, being married to my wife and raising our two children in our middle class home. In retrospect, it was pretty selfish and insular. I was supposed to be salt in the world, but I wasn’t being very salty. I wasn’t being your hands and feet. What’s more is the fact that by not reaching out to help people who were struggling made me much more judgmental and less merciful towards them. No, to be sure, I am a better man now than I was 20 years ago (almost exactly 20 years ago) because I have spent the last 20 years caring for others who are struggling.
Father, maybe the thing for us to do is to define why you designating something as a sin before we start going out and trying to convict people of that sin. Additionally, maybe it’s important to look at the existing sins in our own lives and humbly work those out with fear and trembling before you and then invite others into that process of living before you and worshipping you before we start to pick apart the sins we think we see them committing. I’m not saying that sin isn’t bad. Certainly not. Paul makes it clear above. But is the death he refers to in verse 23 hell or the hellish life we will live on earth if we allow ourselves to pursue different sins? Or both? Well, I suppose that is up to interpretation at some point. What I know right now is that I need to spend more time examining my own heart and finding sin to purge and less time examining the hearts of others. Holy Spirit, please help me to do that.
I pray all of this through the mercy given to me through Jesus’s life, death, and resurrection,