Tag Archives: addressing sin

Throwing The Baby Out With The Bathwater

2 Samuel 20

I remember a cartoon from my youth. I think it was Yosemite Sam who was being tormented by a fly. No matter how often he swatted at the fly, and no matter what he used to bat at the fly, the fly kept dive-bombing him. Then the fly landed on the wall. And Yosemite Sam quickly aimed his rifle and blew a hole in the wall.

Problem solved.

Ever hear the saying, “Don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater?”

Joab wanted Sheba. Sheba had turned traitor and started a rebellion against King David. Joab knew Sheba had to be stopped, and he was willing to go to any length to do just that; even going as far as destroying an entire city and the inhabitants who lived there.

A wise woman helped him see the error of his ways. The city was saved, and the guilty man paid for his own crimes.

When I was a young teacher just beginning my career, we were encouraged to discipline children gently. If a child misbehaved we were told to say something like, “Some of you are having trouble following the rules. We need a time out. Everybody put your heads down on your desk and stay quiet.”

Did you, as part of a class of children, ever have to stay in at recess because a few of your classmates hadn’t done their homework? You’d done yours. But that didn’t matter. Everybody paid the consequences for the few.

Part of the rationale was protecting the egos and feelings of the guilty, believing they’d recognize on their own they were responsible for everyone missing recess, feel bad, and change their behavior.

Yah. That didn’t work. Those ornery kids soon realized the power they had over all of us, including the teacher.

I think what the wise woman helped Joab to see was the importance of accountability. If a person does something wrong, you don’t slap their child.

I don’t think we Christians are very good at holding each other accountable for our misdeeds, our sins. Yet throughout Scripture I see evidence that is what God wants us to do.

Jesus Himself gave us the guidelines in Matthew 18:15-17.

If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother. But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every charge may be established by the evidence of two or three witnesses. If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church. And if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector.

Paul, in Galations 6:1 says it like this:

Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted

God tells us we are to address sin, confront it, remove it from our midst. We should never allow sin to get a foothold in our fellowships. The Church has to remain holy.

But you don’t give up on the Church. You don’t walk out just because you recognize a hypocrite in the pew in front of you. You don’t get angry and start a rebellion. You go to that person and lovingly confront the issue, like Jesus taught us.

The guilty party may need to be disciplined, but you don’t destroy a church (or a city in the case of Joab) to deal with the problem. You don’t blow a hole in the wall to kill a fly. And you don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater.

Let’s hold each other accountable. You may save a brother or sister from a world of hurt, and at the same time strengthen the body of Christ. I believe with all my heart that is what would please our Lord.

(Psalm 36) Who’s To Blame?

I doubt if anyone (believers and non-believers alike) can look at this world and think things are going well. I doubt the first thing that comes to anyone’s mind when describing society is “love, peace, or perfection.” Why is that?

Most Christians would say Satan is to blame. Or they would point a finger at atheists, Muslims, and the like. But I wonder.

Warren Wiersbe said something in his commentary on Psalm 36 that has me thinking. He writes: “If there were more salt and light in this world, there would be less decay and darkness in society.” (Be Worshipful; David Cook Publisher; 2009; p. 134)

Read that again. Think about it for a minute.

David said this about the wicked in Psalm 36:

Dread of God has no effect on him. For with his flattering opinion of himself, he does not discover and hate his iniquity. (vv 1b-2)

Are non-believers the only ones flattering themselves and not dreading the judgment of God for sin? Are only non-believers accepting sin instead of recognizing it and repenting of it? I’m pretty sure Christians are having difficulty discovering our own sins, too.

Even in Christian circles, we would rather talk about the love of God than address sin. We would rather talk about God as our friend, instead of a fierce and frightening Holy Judge. The result is watered down salt and dimmed light, and darkness in the world.

Yes, I believe the fault of our decaying society falls on God’s people, the Church, we Christians, and NOT on non-believers. Non-Christians will act like non-Christians. We can’t expect them not to.

The truth is you can’t legislate good behavior, no matter how much big-government proponents want us to believe they can. You can’t write enough laws, throw enough money at programs, change history or demand equality enough to solve the world’s dilemma.

Only God can do that. And He has chosen to work through Christians to accomplish His will. Because if we are obedient, if we are holy and set apart, fleeing sin, and surrendered to God, God would do what He longs to do, what Jesus came to do…

save the world!

So to answer the question in the title of this post, “Who’s To Blame?,” the answer is, Christian, you and I.

January 13; Spiritual Inventory

As Job was taking inventory of his life, I am encouraged to do the same. Can I, like Job, lay it all out there and know in my heart I have done what is right and good? Join me as I look at my heart’s condition before my God.

31:1-4; Job determined not to lust after another woman. This takes an intentional act of will. ┬áSo I’m checking my own lust-level. I can hardly watch TV without something popping up to try to get me to think about sex. Sex sells. God is asking me if I intentionally guard my heart even in front of the tube.

31:5-8; Job tells me he didn’t “walk in falsehood,” or hurry “after deceit.” Again, speaking the truth, living the truth is a choice. God is asking me how important it is to me to always speak the truth, even in these days when the truth is something to be laughed at and denied, and when people think there’s such a thing as a “white lie”.

31:9-12; Jealousy. Can I really be genuinely happy for my neighbor over their good fortune without longing for what they have? Job says jealousy is a sin to be judged.

31:13-15; Job reminds me that everyone is born in the exact same way. So, how do I treat people? If I consider myself more important, or better than someone else, I will be called to account.

31:16-23; Job tells me he had compassion, that he gave to needy people. God is prompting me to check my heart’s ability to feel, and my resources to do. I don’t want to be so desensitized that I can ignore someone who is hurting, or in need of something I have the ability to provide.

31:24-28; Job didn’t put his trust in wealth, or the universe. How faithful am I to God? If my bank account becomes more important than my relationship with God, that is a sin to be judged. If I entertain the idea that God plus anything is worth worship, I am unfaithful to God, and that is a sin to be judged.

31:29-34; What is my attitude toward an enemy? If I find myself even a little glad someone who wronged me is facing a trial or a hardship, I cannot please God. And Job reminds me that I don’t even need to express my feelings out loud. Trying to hide any sin is a futile effort. God always knows what’s in my heart and mind.

31:35-40; Job challenges me to look at my stewardship. God has blessed me. Am I using what He has given me to be a blessing to others? I am reminded I am blessed for that purpose. How am I doing?

Aren’t these things that Job spoke about the things that should identify us as God’s? I know that nothing I do – no matter how sacrificial – can make up for even one sin I’ve committed. I don’t believe the lesson here is: do good so God likes you better.

But as a woman who is saved by grace, a child of God through the precious blood of Jesus, I want my life to be above reproach. After all, I wear His Name. I want my testimony to be true, my heart in tune with God’s.

Thank you, Job, for helping me take inventory. Help me, God, to address the things You have laid on my heart. I want to represent you well today. For Jesus’ sake.