However, once in a while, God takes a Sunday, or a series of Sundays, or even every single day for a month straight, to speak to you on the issue of sin and to hit you up for an honest, heart-felt apology. After hearing 3 different people talk about this subject in less than a week, it occured to me that perhaps God is suggesting I give my own sin some thought. So here’s what I heard:
- Video Lady from my Tuesday morning bible study compares the sin in her life to a weed–a weed that kept popping up no matter how much she trimmed it back. It wasn’t until she got down in that garden and cleaned out all the bushes and pulled up the roots of that weed that it could truly be gone. Okay, fair enough. Personally, I like to think of my own sin as a tapeworm, sucking all the nutrients and life-force out of the lining of my intestines, so that no matter how much good food I eat, I will never be satisfied. I don’t really know how one gets rid of tapeworms, though. But I do know that no matter how many Sundays in a row I go to church, unless I deal with the reason behind the sin, whether that sin is an action or an attitude, I’ll always be empty. Because of my giant sinning tapeworm.
- Preacher says that we will always sin. Everyday. All the time. He says that we will always be working on eliminating sin in different areas of our life, and that we will always need to ask forgiveness–and specifically admit to God what we’ve done wrong. You can’t just say, "Hey God. Sorry for all the stuff I’ve done wrong." Which sucks, because this has been a staple sentence in my prayer repertoire up until now. He even gave the congregation a moment to write their sins on a piece of paper, crumple it up, and throw it in the trash can forever. It was meant to be symbolically cleansing. I can only assume they had a non-symbolic, very real bonfire out back later on that afternoon.
- Women’s retreat speaker lady says that Jesus died for our sins and came back to life–and that for us to have new life with Him, there must first be a death–a death of our old selves, our old ways of thinking; our sins. Sounds good to me, right? And I, for one, am sinning in some way almost every second of my life. I’m impatient and hot-tempered with my children when I should be loving and tender with them instead. I get aggrivated with Caleb over the smallest things. I lust after material things like nobody’s business. I can down chocolate like there’s no tomorrow. I can be quite blasphemous if I’m not careful. I’m judgemental. I’m self-centered. I’m lazy. And even on a good day, I still feel like the world’s biggest hypocrite.
So I asked my sin to go die a quiet death somewhere. And my sin, who sounds an awful lot like Leon Phelps, smoothly replied, "Yeah, sweet thang. I’m not really into all that, so why don’t you just come over here and let me pour you some courvoisier. We ain’t gotta talk no more."
"No, no. I’m not drinking so much anymore, but listen. I’m serious. I can’t have you around when I’m trying to lead a good life. I need you to die."
"So…you don’t want a fish sandwich?"
I think what Women’s Retreat Speaker Lady meant for me to understand when she said "a death had to occur" was that I had to stone-cold murder my sin, and that? Could get downright ugly. But it doesn’t just go away on its own. I can’t cover it up and never have to deal with it again–I’ll always be struggling. I am a little scared about where to go from here; sometimes it seems like most people have it all under control–even the evil, sinning part of their lives. "Oh, yes, that’s something I need to work on. I know exactly what I need to do to fix this problem before it gets out of hand." I, on the other hand, have always learned the hard way. Here’s me: "Sin, sin, sin, sin, sin, sin." Here’s God: "Wham!"
Me: "Ouch! What gives, God?"
God: "Yeah, I bet you’ll never do that again, will you?"
Me: "Huh? What? Was I sinning? Oh. Well, I guess I was. And now I have a gigantic bruise/fat ass/totalled car/unhappy marriage to remind me of it. Um, thank you?"
Sigh. I’ve got a long way to go. It will always take a concious effort and a lot of prayer and a genuine commitment to stay on track. Prayer doesn’t come easy for me. I have to pray just for the desire to pray. I still don’t even exactly know what I mean by "staying on track". But I can be hopeful. Even The Ladies’ Man settled down.