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Friday, August 31, 2012

Justifiable Sin?

The posted speed limit on my way to work changes several times as it does for most people who travel to work. The street I live on has a speed limit of 25 mph. The way to work is 25, 35, 45, 35, 45, 25, 35, 45. Its not amazing that I can tell you all the posted speed limits. I speed up and slow down to comply.

Each morning I am passed by people who are traveling at lease 15 mph faster than I. They appear to be decent looking people. They do not fit the description of the wanted hardened criminals whose arrest photos are flashed on the tv screens during the evening news. They are just people going to work like me.

Do they know the speed limits like I do? I suspect that they do. Do they know they are breaking the law? I suspect that they do. Do they feel bad about it? I suspect that they justify their actions. After all, aren't there several other people going just as fast as they are?

So, I'm in a counseling session with a young man who has just confessed that he has committed adultery with a prostitute. He claims to be very sorry that he did so but then starts justifying why it happened. He tells me that his wife wasn't being that sexually responsive to him. He says that she isn't taking care of his needs. If I didn't know better I would think that he was totally justified in what he did. I wonder if that's what he is trying to tell me. Did he know what the limit (law) was before he had contact with the prostitute?

It is very easy to start justifying your actions no matter what is right or wrong. It doesn't take much of a deviation from where you are intending to go to end up in a totally different place. Sin is very subtle. Maybe it starts with looking at someone or something. Maybe it starts with sleeping in on Sunday mornings. Maybe it starts with getting into a car with someone who you know is up to no good.

Of course, many people try to deny what they have done until it is obvious that it has been done. Then they minimize what has been done to make it no big deal. Then, they blame other people for what they have done. The true problem is that they have left their faith behind to pursue something that won't last.

Sin is never justifiable but don't try to tell that to a non-repentant person. He will claim that it is every time.

1 Timothy 1:18-20 (NIV) 18 Timothy, my son, I give you this instruction in keeping with the prophecies once made about you, so that by following them you may fight the good fight, 19 holding on to faith and a good conscience. Some have rejected these and so have shipwrecked their faith. 20 Among them are Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I have handed over to Satan to be taught not to blaspheme.

(Please note that I normally ride my bike to work with the exception of inclement weather and the car I leave at the church being broken down. I must have a car at the church to visit the hospitals or respond to an emergency. The car has been broken down a lot lately so I have driven more times than I have riden my bicycle.)

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