Our Respectable Sins

-The One Who Humbles Himself

In Luke 18 Jesus told the story of two men who went to the temple to pray: one was a Pharisee and the other was a tax collector. When the Pharisee prayed, he said, “God, I thank you that I am not like other people— and, here come the “Biggie Sins” —greedy, unrighteous, adulterers & even like this tax collector; I fast twice a week & I tithe when the offering plate is passed.” But, when the tax collector prayed he wouldn’t even raise his eyes to heaven. Instead, he kept beating his chest and saying, “God, turn your wrath from me…a SINNER!” No pointing fingers! No minimizing his sin! He owned it! And, Jesus concluded the story like this:  “I tell you, this one went down to his house justified rather than the other; because everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.” 

-Pride and Selfishness

When we act toward each other as this Pharisee did to the tax collector we poison those human relationships with the subtle, almost “respectable” sins of pride & selfishness!  We sabotage, even the ones we claim to love,  by our judgmentalism & our sins of the tongue.  We destroy our friendships by our lack of self-control, our envy & our jealousy! More families have been destroyed; more churches have turned inside out against itself; and, more countries have gone to war over the subtle so-called “respectable sins” of pride, jealousy & selfishness than all the gross, appalling sins combined! Never forget the bottom line— ALL SIN IS DEADLY! It wasn’t a “biggie sin” that resulted in the fall of mankind in the garden.  Adam & Eve just plucked a piece of fruit from a tree and ate it! No “biggie”? It was devastating!

-Small Sins Can Be Just As Deadly

The murder of every Jew by Hitler was “in” that piece of fruit! All the sex-slavery, human trafficking, robberies & marriage infidelity was “in” that forbidden fruit! Don’t ever minimize your sin! The small “respectable” sins can be just as deadly! Let us be relentless, with the Holy Spirit’s help, to be killing all sin in our life; or, it will be killing us! There’s an old English word that we rarely use in the church anymore. It’s the word ‘mortify’ and it means to ‘put to death.’ Colossians 3:5, for example, says, ‘Mortify—or, put to death—what belongs to your worldly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires, and greed, which is idolatry.’ Romans 8:13 says we accomplish that by the Spirit ONLY; not by the flesh:  “For if you live according to the flesh, you will die. But, if by the Spirit, you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.” To “put to death” is an update from the old KJV word “mortification.”

-Overcoming Sin & Temptation

Let me conclude this post by encouraging you to purchase a great book titled, Overcoming Sin & Temptation by John Owen. It’s a Crossway book that’s a compilation of 3 classic works by Owen, the 16th century Puritan minister.  Here’s what he says about “putting to death” or “mortifying” the deeds of the flesh: “Sin does not only still abide in us, but is still acting, still laboring to bring forth the deeds of the flesh. When sin lets us alone we may let sin alone; but as sin is never less quiet than when it seems to be most quiet, and its waters are for the most part deep when they are still, so ought our contrivances against it to be vigorous at all times and in all conditions, even where there is least suspicion… be killing sin or it will be killing you…” The Apostle Paul challenged the Church of Colosse to “…put off the old man…” (Col. 3:9-10); and to be “…made alive…” by the Holy Spirit! This is the constant responsibility of every believer!

Parenting Adult Children

If Your Meddling, Stop It!

All the struggles & mistakes & rebellion of my adult children can be attributed, in large part, to the sin nature I passed on to them! Bad parenting begets bad parenting! The answer is NOT to try harder to fix them! Your adult children will resent your “meddling” in their lives! The answer is NOT to read the newest “self help” book on the subject, either!

Do You See A Pattern Here?

Genesis 37 contains the sordid story of Jacob & Rachel and their dysfunctional family. Pick it up; and, read it all over again! What you will see is a pattern of sin learned from the previous generation. When Jacob’s sons deceived him with a robe covered in goat’s blood, they convinced him that their brother,  Joseph, had been killed. They learned to lie & deceive from their own father, Jacob, and their grandmother, Rebekah, who hatched up a scheme to deceive her husband, Isaac, to bless Jacob instead of his older brother, Esau! Where did Isaac & Rebekah learn to deceive? From Isaac’s parents, Abraham & Sarah, who cooked up a story that Sarah was his sister (Genesis 20) over fear that a king would kill Abraham to obtain Sarah for his wife! You’ll also find “favoritism”, “passive parenting”, “jealousy”, “hate”—all being passed on from one generation to the next! “The apple never falls far from the tree!”

What’s The Answer?

The answer to the dysfunction in our homes—and all of our homes ARE dysfunctional—is the Gospel! The “good news” of the Gospel says, “I cannot; but, God can!” I can’t save myself; but, God can save me! I cannot overcome my hurts, habits & hangups; but, God’s Spirit can help me overcome them! I cannot fix the dysfunction in my relationships with my children; nor, can I fix the dysfunction they’ve brought into their marriages & families! But, God can—that’s the Gospel! God alone can help us overcome the sinful dysfunction we all bring into our homes! Jesus took all our sin, our guilt, and our shame with Him to the cross & He paid for it all! His work atones for even our bad parenting if we’ll humble ourselves & confess to Him that we’re incapable of fixing it! Extend grace to your adult kids like God did to you!

Don’t Become Their Judges

It’s easy to become judgmental, of our adult children, when it seems they don’t want to hear our opinions anymore. Maybe we need to listen more & talk less! If we don’t change the way we parent, as they become adults, relational tension will develop between us. If you desire to be a blessing to your adult children, begin by confessing your own brokenness to them & to God. Then, pray relentlessly for the Spirit to work on you & your adult children! Trust God to do the Spirit’s work that you cannot do. When you act like the Holy Spirit in their life, all they’ll hear is nagging! Give them over to God! They are His!

Should A Believer Practice Political Correctness?

“PC” Defined:

“Political Correctness” or “PC” has been defined as “A term that describes language, ideas, policies and behavior seen as seeking to minimize social and institutional offense in occupational, gender, racial, cultural, sexual orientation, religious believe, disability and age-related contexts.” Taken at face value it almost seems like something we should support as followers of Jesus!

“Political Correctness” Is A Moving Target

In the “Politically Correct” world no individual or group is ever to be offended; but, it’s that word “offense” that becomes problematic because an “offense” can be very subjective. It’s based on the opinion of each individual; so, it becomes a moving target! What’s “offensive” to one person is not to another. So, the “offended” party makes all the rules in a Politically Correct world.

In the “PC World” everyone’s beliefs must be tolerated. Everyone’s faith or religion is to be equally validated. So, there can be no “absolute truth” in a Politically Correct World. Truth becomes “subjective”! But, Jesus said: “I am THE WAY, THE TRUTH & THE LIFE. No one comes to the Father except through ME” (John 14:6) That means Jesus is “exclusive”—He claims to be the ONLY way to God; the ONLY truth! That’s repulsive in the Politically Correct World because it “offends” every other system of faith!

Prepare Yourself

My purpose in writing this article is to prepare you for the inevitable! Taken to it’s extreme, Political Correctness will effectively censor the Church’s attempts to make disciples because that’s an “offensive” activity to some. When that happens, followers of Christ will be left with a choice—who will we offend? If our country continues the course we’re on, persecution will be the fall out; and, we need to brace ourselves! Choose you this day whom you will offend! I’ve already made my decision—when faced with the choice to offend God or man, I will choose to offend man every time!

The Anti-Political Correctness Movement

However, let me add some caution-don’t join the Anti-Political Correctness movement! I’ve noticed there’s been an “over reaction” to the philosophy of Political Correctness that is rude, crass, demeaning & not at all like Jesus! Paul wrote the believers in Ephesus to, “Speak the TRUTH in LOVE.” Don’t YOU, personally, be the “offense”! Jesus was the “friend of sinners” because He was full of “Grace AND Truth”! A casual reading of Scripture says to “guard your tongue”, “set a guard on my mouth”, “slander no one”, “avoid fighting” (Prov 15:1; 15:4; 21:23; Psalm 141:3; Titus 3:2; Colossians 4:6)

Don’t Forget Who You Are

We need to remember our “identity”—who we are! I am 1st a “citizen” of heaven; and, 2nd a “resident” of America! Our higher calling is our identity in Christ!