Whenever we dine out for lunch and happen to see a police officer on his lunch break I have always loved looking at the faces of my little children. They stand in awe, especially my boys. Josiah especially loves talking to them, thanking them, and showing his general appreciation for all that they do to serve and protect. This got me thinking, at what point do we as adults cease to look at those police officers with the same majestic awe? I think for most of us, it was the first time we were pulled over. Once that officer came down upon us, we no longer felt that he was a hero. He became our nemesis. He became a person that wasn’t fair. He was harsh. And we personally feel he wasn’t fair. We eventually start feeling like police officers are always around when we don’t need them. They see every mistake we make while we are driving. We don’t always speed, but when we are in a hurry, there always seems to be a police officer on that corner. We don’t always do rolling stops, but when we do, there is always a cop watching. We don’t always try to sneak through a yellow light a second too late, but when we do, sure enough a cop is there waiting to pull us over and give us a ticket. Typically, when it happens we say silly things like, “don’t you have something more important to do than pull me over.” We attest to our goodness. We talk about our service to the community. I remember one time I get pulled over, for something that I eventually proved that I didn’t do in court, I used similar tactics. I was accused of passing a school bus that had its lights on, at the time I was working for the high school. I told the police officer the type of students I helped (special needs) and how that proved that I would never do something to jeopardize the health of a child. Silly isn’t it. Just because I love children doesn’t mean that I wouldn’t drive past a school bus.
But, what does this have to do with our faith? I think we often talk about our sins in a similar fashion. We don’t like it when people point out to us that we have sin in our lives. If someone points out that we have a temper problem we respond with, “But I am a bible class teacher” or “But, you don’t know how much a sacrifice” or “But you don’t understand all the hardships I go through to be faithful to God” or “I just have to blow off some steam every now and then. I am not always angry.” But, these are mere excuses. They don’t justify our actions. And sadly, we end up treating the person that pointed out our sin like we treat the police officer. We get mad because they don’t notice all the good we do. (Or at least we think that they should excuse our bad behavior because of all that good that we do).
What is even worse is when we think of God in the same light. No one likes to feel guilty. Many refuse to “get religion” because they feel guilt every time they come. I recall talking to a brother in Christ who has now since fallen away and his wife, who was never baptized, and they told me that is the very reason they ceased going to church. They felt that the local preacher made them feel like sinners. If that was what “church” was all about they wanted nothing to do with it. When I asked them what they wanted from a church they responded in the typical way many who are lost today do, “They want to go to a place that made them feel good about who they were.” What they really wanted was a pat on the back and someone noticing all the right things that they are doing. Never mind the fact that the “right things” is whatever they deemed as “right,” not what God deemed as “right.”
What is even worse than that is if today’s pattern is any indication, I could see many that will stand before God on the last day arguing their case. “Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles (Matt. 7:22)? Why are you pointing out all that I did wrong? Can’t you see all that I did right? Why didn’t you notice the hundreds of times I didn’t roll through the stop sign?” It is not God’s fault he notices our sins. It is not God’s fault that we sin (James 1:13). And most importantly, it doesn’t matter how many times you do the right thing. One sin makes us undeserving of the grace of God. One sin is still transgression of the law. Sometimes a person only commits one murder. But he still killed someone. Should he get off free because he didn’t kill someone all the other days of his life? Sometimes a person only kills one child in a drinking and driving accident. Should he be permitted to continue to drink and drive because of all the times he didn’t hurt someone? Sure, we understand the “big crimes.” But to God, all sin is equal. All sin separates us from him, whether it is rape, lusting in the hurt, a little white lie or bearing false witness that results in someone being condemned to death.
Grinnell church of Christ
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You're Always Around When I Don’t Need You
Volume 5 Issue 10