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Susan Bunts Wachtel
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For some time now, God has laid upon my heart the subject of Christians and sin…and their influence upon unbelievers. As Christians we encounter unbelievers in many areas…from family and friends to coworkers and neighbors. I think we may be unaware of our influence and the impressions we make upon those who haven’t yet accepted Christ. Influence for both good and bad.
It’s always easier for me to see the error of someone else’s way…instead of my own. As I see other Christians and their interaction with unbelievers it’s very easy for me to point a finger and see what they coulda, shoulda, woulda done differently. Instead I believe that God would have me examine myself in the mirror of His word and see where I fall short.
One concern I see is when I take sin lightly and permit it to enter my life. Either something I’m actively engaged in…or something that is permitted on the peripherals without much notice or protest.
For example…something that seems to be not a big deal is what TV programs I watch. But in fact…it may have a bigger impact than what I first realize. If I’m watching programs in which characters regularly engage in sin, don’t acknowledged it as sin and there are no consequences to their wrong behavior…what am I telling an unbeliever who is watching that same TV show? What does it say about me…if I can stand around the water cooler and laugh about the latest episode of Joey employing all his antics and charm to get Rachel into bed?
Does it tell them that I believe in a set standard outside of myself that says what’s right and wrong? Does it tell the unbeliever that I take sin seriously because I know the cost of such behavior? That sin is not funny? That the suffering and punishment that Christ endured on the cross is a result of sin…including my own sins? That my un-repented, un-forgiven sin…sin that is not covered by the blood of the Lamb will result in eternal separation from God. That the wages of sin is death but the free gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. That first comes death, then judgment. That wide is the path that leads to destruction and narrow is the path that leads to life.
Or does it tell them that sex outside of marriage is okay? That the notion of premarital or extramarital sex being wrong is just an old fashion notion and is not relevant to today. After all I’m laughing about it along with them…and I’m watching the TV show along with them. Instead shouldn’t my conscience be pierced as I watch people engaging in what God has clearly declared sinful.
How exactly does that square with Jesus command to “Be holy even as I am holy.”? How do I reconcile that with scripture that tells me that I am to not even let a hint of sexual immorality, impurity or greed be a part of my life as a believer in Christ?
What does it say to the unbeliever who stands before me…living an immoral life. A lifestyle I just laughed about when it involved TV characters?
An unbeliever will not hear the truth of God’s word from the world. Instead they will hear man made truth and values that fluctuate with whatever way the prevailing wind is blowing. The world does not have one fixed point of truth or right and wrong.
However…as a Christian…I have the truth of God’s word to guide and direct me…to hold me accountable. It’s not Susan’s heart and Susan’s values that determine right and wrong…but the truth of God’s word. I can tell you many a time…my will…ran smack dab into the immovable wall of God truth contained in His word. When I hit that wall…I was broken and battered. The truth of God’s word does not budge.
Will I be molded to the image of this world….or conformed to the image of Christ? There’s no way to do both…it’s either one or the other. If I’m feasting daily on a steady diet of God’s word…I will find there no room for that which the world has to offer. Something that I use to find appealing or attractive now is disgusting and distasteful.
In the message of what’s right and wrong and what God declares sin…I must never loose the love of God in the parameters that He has set up. God in part hates sin because He knows what pain and destruction sin wrecks in people's lives.
A sitcom that shows sex between an unmarried couple…doesn’t show you the ugly side sin. Consequences like an emotional attachment that is formed between those who are not committed to one another. The pain when one person wants to walk away and the other person has made the mistake of falling in love in the midst of an arrangement that was suppose to be mutually pleasurable without commitment or attachment. Being used and not cared for…only serves to deaden one’s heart. What about the consequence that we see in our bodies such as infertility or abortion or sexually transmitted diseases…diseases that may even lead to death.
That’s what God hates…He hates sin because He knows the consequences. He’s not a kill joy. He desires to give us His best. That which God gives us the enemy seeks to counterfeit. God offers a life long commitment of love and marriage between one man and one woman…and Satan offers a one night stand with whomever I want, whenever I want.
Is my Christian witness of God and His truth compromised by what I let into my life? Do I shut up and not say anything because of what I choose to do? Because I don't want anyone looking too closely at what I'm doing? Am I walking a little too close to the line that I am judging another by? What use am I to God when I am living a compromised life and I'm comfortable with sin? Not much I’d say…that is until I go through the Refiner’s fire.
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