Monday, September 10, 2012

No Sin is Personal


But she said to them, “Do not call me Naomi; call me Mara, for the Almighty has dealt very bitterly with me.” – Ruth 1:20
Naomi was a faithful wife, perhaps even to a fault.  When Judah, the Promised Land, endured a famine from God because of their disobedience, her husband Elimelech decided to take matters into his own hands.  He decided to take Naomi and their two young sons into the land of the Moabites.  But while they were running from the famine, they were also leaving God.

The land of Moab was a land of idolatry.  God had already dealt with this sin many times with the Israelites.  They had seen how He felt about it time and time again from the golden calf in the wilderness through the idolatrous Kings.  He had destroyed entire cities of people for worshipping carven images, the stars, and the sun. 
Elimelech must have thought it was okay to be near sin, but not be part of sin.  But it’s not! 1 Thessalonians 5:22 says to Abstain from all appearance of evil.”  That is why a Christian should not read a horoscope, watch horror movies, partake in séances, or any other activity that is grounded in evil activity and wrong thoughts.  If you wouldn’t feel comfortable doing it with Jesus by your side, you shouldn’t feel comfortable doing it with His Holy Spirit within you.  But Elimelech, knowing what the Moabites were all about, just moved his family there anyway. 

Soon after they moved there Elimelech died.  His sons took wives of the Moabite women, but within the ten years they lived there, the sons died as well.  His wife Naomi, being faithful to him, endured the punishment of his sins as well through the loss of her husband and two sons. 
When she returned to Bethlehem with her daughter-in-law Ruth, the ladies came from their houses and greet her by saying Is this Naomi?” But in Ruth 1:20 she tells them “Do not call me Naomi; call me Mara, for the Almighty has dealt very bitterly with me. I went out full, and the Lord has brought me home again empty. Why do you call me Naomi, since the Lord has testified against me, and the Almighty has afflicted me?”   The name Mara itself in Hebrew means bitter.

We all have that little pet sin.  It could be a favorite curse word or a favorite activity.  It could be secret, or it could be an open activity.  We hold it close to our hearts, daring any pastor or preacher to trample on it.  It’s ours!  We, consciously or subconsciously, have decided that the sin is greater to us than the punishment would be, and we cling to it. 
But what if that punishment is also inflicted on those around us?  Would it be worth it even then? 

Your actions ALWAYS affect someone else.  We all have times when we look to another person as our role model, and the things they do and we mimic them.  It may last for a lifetime, just striving to be like them, or it may only last for a moment.  You’ve done it – I’ve done it.  But what about those that are looking to us as their role model?  It could be our kids, our grandkids, a friend, or even a stranger.  Would you want them to adopt your pet sin as their own?
And there are those sins that have consequences that hurt those around us.  I remember vividly my grandfather’s smoking. It took him from us when I was only 10 years old.  Many families can testify to the hurt of a broken home due to an affair.  Others can tell you about the loss of someone dear due to a drunk driver.  Sin always has a consequence.

Is your pet sin so sweet that you would not regret seeing your punishment put upon those around you?  No matter how much you may love that little bit of rebellion, there is no such thing as a personal sin.  

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