(We are making the move back to CO and the office, school, church, etc. Please enjoy these posts from the archives. You are welcome to comment as usual and I will respond on the other side.)
Response to a pastor continues…
You see, a lot of this comes from a wrong idea about sin. If we think of sin as being a list of bad things that make God angry, then we will do our best to stay away from the things on the list. There are several problems with that, but the most obvious is that once the action is on the list our flesh will seek loopholes. Can I do it just a little bit? Can I do this thing that is just about like it? How close can I get before I actually do the thing on the list? And just how angry will God get anyway? Will He take away my salvation or arrange some sort of earthly punishment? Just what will this action really cost me? That kind of thinking is almost an obsession for many Christians and almost all believers struggle with it in some ways. And this is why many believers, even serious Christian leaders, suddenly find themselves in deep trouble. They have played near the line for so long that they have crossed it without being fully aware of it.
Another problem with thinking of sin in that way is that there will always be people who try to keep us from even coming close to the action by adding fences and rules to keep us far away. If we want to avoid adultery, we shouldn’t watch TV because of the continual sex emphasis. Never mind that there are many things to watch that don’t compromise sexual purity. Just having a TV provides the possibility of lust which could lead to acting out on these thoughts and that could lead to adultery. So, I have known people who claimed to never watch TV, never subscribe to a newspaper (underwear ads, you know), and never allow boys and girls to play together. (It was fascinating for me to hear how many R rated movies the children of these people had watched in their own homes. Why? Because someone had decided that renting a video wasn’t the same as watching TV. Remember what I said about loopholes?) Rules upon rules, standards upon standards, will never guarantee right living. Lust was a problem long before televisions and newspapers – even before short skirts!