Scripture sometimes seems like double-talk. For instance, in Romans, Paul goes on and on about how he does what he doesn’t want to do and doesn’t do what he wants to do (Romans 7:15-25). What is he saying? It’s the story of life. He has regrets. He has failed to live the perfect Christian life. And so have we.
However, in the same book, Paul gives the antidote to sin: Jesus Christ. Paul writes, “In all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loves us.” (Romans 8:37-39). Jesus died so that our sins are forgiven, and He gives us the Holy Spirit to stand guard over our hearts so that we do not sin.
Now before we excuse ourselves from applying this because we are good people who are doing just fine, consider God’s definition of sin: “There are six things the Lord hates, seven that are detestable to him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked schemes, feet that are quick to rush into evil, a false witness who pours out lies and a person who stirs up conflict in the community.” (Proverbs 6:16-19)
· Haughty eyes. That’s pride. Do we “pride” ourselves on having all the answers? Do we think we know more than everyone else? Do we think we have a corner on truth? Do we even hear what others are saying?
· A lying tongue. Are we scrupulously honest on our income tax? With our spouses? With purchases? With relationships?
· Hands that shed innocent blood. We may not “kill” literally, but how about killing someone’s reputation through gossip? Do we ever share something, even in a prayer request, that makes someone else look bad?
· A heart that devises wicked schemes. Remember Ananias and Sapphira who said they were donating all they received from selling a piece of land, yet they held some back for themselves? The Lord took their lives. Seems like harsh consequences for a little white lie. Actions have consequences.
· Feet that are quick to rush into evil. We certainly hope we are not guilty of this; through scripture we have a firm grasp on what evil is. But our society is fraught with concepts that call evil good. One example: Abortion for convenience.
· A false witness. Here again, this may refer to gossip, to saying something about someone else that is not 100 per cent true.
· A person who causes conflict in the community. Do we cause conflict in the church community? Just asking. Do we squelch honest discussion? Are we more concerned with getting “our” way of doing things than with the good of the congregation?
These are serious sins that get us into serious trouble. Yet we so easily slip up. What is the answer? Let the light of Christ shine through your life. The Holy Spirit is not shy about convicting us of our shortcomings, but He also turns away from hardened hearts. So keep short accounts with Him. Listen to His whispers.
Our biggest problem may be that we sometimes spill words all over ourselves. We prattle on about things of which we have no knowledge or have no business discussing. It’s someone else’s story to tell. Remember, like the California wildfires, the tongue can do great damage.
Invite Christ into your life, then live the way Jesus lived. He said, “The one who sent me is with me; he has not left me alone, for I always do what pleases him.” (John 8:29)
Pray about everything, think before you speak and let the light of God’s Word—both the written and the Living Word--guide your behavior. Like Jesus, always do what pleases God.