As I was reading through scripture to find material for my sermon/speech, I came across a certain part of Romans. I could just mention the main part, but I think I need to take a running start in order for the point to be fully understood (please read Romans 1:18-32 first, to understand):
Disclaimer: In this post, I’m neither attempting to criticize gays nor saying that gay people are evil. Though that may be what the scripture is suggesting, my point of mentioning this today is to point to the Christians who have moved away from the Lord to the point of not only deadening their view of sin, but to where they even approve of it and promote it as O.K. So now that that’s out of the way:
I have a friend who has in fact often expressed falling away some in her own walk with Jesus. But the results are that she has become deadened to the recognition of sin, even to the point of approving it and those who do it.
See, when we move away from the Lord, we move towards the world. When we don’t look at the Lord’s ways and continue to remain engulfed in Him, we begin to become engulfed in the ways of the world.
Analogy: You’re at the pool…you’re either in the pool, or on the side, but you can’t be in both places. If you’re in the pool, you’re wet. If you’re not in the pool, you’re dry. And if you’ve just gotten out of the pool, you’re cold due to the water’s evaporating from your body (even if you use a towel). And notice that as we dry off, even our appearance begins to change (from wet to dry).
In other words, being in the pool is to be in the Water, the Living Water, that is, Christ. To be out of the water, and thus dry, is to be living in the world, spiritually dry, not engulfed in the Word of God. When you get out of the Water, you become cold as the Water evaporates from your body…it’s a process (even if you use a towel). You don’t instantly become dry, it takes some time for the world to dry you off. For as the scripture said, “their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened.”
The Greek briefly explains this process: “their thinking, or their knowledge (opinions) became worthless speculations.” When we begin to fall away from the Lord, and begin to see the sins our friends and loved ones commit, we begin to question all we know about God.
“Their foolish hearts”.
The Greek word for “foolish” also means: without understanding, dull, or senseless.
So these people (Christians) knew God and saw all the things that He had done throughout their lives, but then they rejected Him and began worshiping other things instead, and their minds became dull and without understanding…foolish: “They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator.” Today, these may even be: self, money, the church and not God, jobs, the need for companionship with people before God, school, busyness, acceptance from others, etc. Therefore, the Lord allowed them to continue in their ways (since they’d chosen them over Him): “Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts.”
Then came the drying off process: They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; they have no understanding, no fidelity, no love, no mercy. (I underlined that “God-haters” one because, notice that a lot of times, people who behave like this claim to be close followers of the Lord? Eh, but that’s another post for another time.)
“Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things”. But the worst part, which I believe my friend has unfortunately come to herself, is that: “(they) also approve of those who practice them (sin).”
They had become so deadened to what sin is, or how bad it is, that they began to see sin as not being sin, but justified due to the views of the world, or after watching their friends endure it, and suddenly, their opinions and views on such becomes deadened. They no longer recognize sin as sin, but justify it in the light that it is somebody they care about doing it. Much like a judge letting a convicted murder go free because they are related.
So why is it that when our friends (those who once followed the Lord) sin, or begin to behave as those given over to the world, often fall away from the Lord in order to try and understand, but then justify the sin of their loved ones? Why do they not understand that sin is not something to be reckoned with?
When a friend begins getting into drugs, we address them, right? We let them know what they’re getting into, that it is not good, that it could kill them, and if it becomes too bad, we admit them into rehab. Drug addiction is known today as both an addiction and a disease.
Sin, too, is an addiction and a deadly disease! People of all ages get hooked on it. Like drug addiction, it will damage every part of the user, it will destroy their lives, it’s highly addictive (more than cocaine, meth, acid, pot, caffeine, nicotine, etc.). Sin also kills more people than any drug or disease out there (more than AIDS, H1N1, Cancer, Pneumonia, Tuberculosis, and every other deadly disease, put together!). But when friends become addicted to sin, why doesn’t anybody do something about it? Even worse, why do we begin to actually approve of it and announce our approval to everyone who tries to address it? It’s like we know the effects of drugs, but let it go simply because our friends are the victims (sounds backwards when I put it that way, doesn’t it?)! Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things, but even approve of those who practice them.
My friend believes that it is OK for a girl we know to date another girl. Scripture tells us it’s sin, and even explains the process, quite precise to this girl’s life, too. But yet, instead of addressing the sin, she questions the Lord, questions Scripture, her thoughts become futile, her opinions become worthless, her understanding of God’s ways become dull, and her heart becomes darkened. The girl turned away from the Lord in order to sin, and the Lord gave her over to her lusts. My friend, instead of addressing her sin, let her fall deeper into it, even to the point of approving it, and denying it as sin, justifying it because the girl’s “happy”.
Another friend cheats on his fiance’ as they prepare for their wedding. The bride to be learns of his infidelity days before and the wedding is canceled. But my female friend addressed his sin. Though he may have been happy, her focus went onto his fiance (whom we both know also). If it’s all about the happiness of the one who’s sinning, then why didn’t she approve of his sin?
Sin is sin! There is no categorizing it, there is no approving of it, and there is no justifying it, especially by us. Jesus died on the cross so that He may be resurrected and save us from sin, but we must accept His gift of salvation if we’re to survive the terrible addiction and deadly disease known as sin. And once we receive His salvation, it’s our responsibility to keep others in the Body accountable for their sin. Because sin is sin!