Wednesday, April 17, 2013

The Contagion of Sin

And he said to them, “Pick me up and throw me into the sea; then the sea will become calm for you. For I know that this great tempest is because of me.” – Jonah 1:12

There’s a song by Rodney Atkins called “Watching You”.  It tells the tender story of a father and his son riding home from McDonalds.  The father hits the brakes at a red light, and the little boys fries went to flying and his orange drink covered his lap.  At that point the little boy says a four letter word beginning with “S”!  When his father asked him where he’d heard such a word, his reply was “I’ve been watching you dad.”
We all have those little sins that are habitual.  It may be a bad word, an angry attitude, a wasteful way of life, you pick it – what is that favorite sin of yours?  We all have one. When the preacher talks about it we suddenly become deaf until his words become sweeter.  We hold on to it and cherish it with excuses like “Well, nobody’s perfect!” or “It’s really not THAT bad” or even “This is between me and God”.  But have you realized that your sin is contagious?

In Jonah 1, the Prophet Jonah was in a full blown spirit of rebellion.  He refused to obey God and go to Nineveh, and decided the best way to run from God’s plan was to go to Tarshish.  God had not yet been revealed to the people of Tarshish, so it seemed to Jonah that this would be a ‘safe’ place to hide from God.  So he boarded a boat headed, he thought, away from God.
But once at sea, the waves grew taller and stronger, and the men on the boat feared they would lose their lives.  They began to throw the cargo overboard to try to save the ship from being broken apart.  But the storm raged against the boat.  They called out to their gods, each man…except for Jonah.  Jonah slept in the lower part of the boat.  His sin didn’t bother him, but it was about to cause a ship wreck and cost the crew their lives! 

When the captain found him, he said What do you mean, sleeper? Arise, call on your God; perhaps your God will consider us, so that we may not perish.”  As they began to cast lots to see who had caused this angry sea to come upon them, Jonah knew his secret would be uncovered.  And as God planned it, the lot fell on Jonah.  His sins were pointed out by the finger of God! Numbers 32:23 says be sure your sin will find you out.” God has a way of revealing our secret sins.
He then told them in Jonah 1:12 “Pick me up and throw me into the sea; then the sea will become calm for you. For I know that this great tempest is because of me.”  Jonah confessed, and as soon as they threw Jonah overboard, removing his sin from the boat, the sea became calm.  And God, being merciful to those who ask for His forgiveness, came to Jonah’s aid with a big fish to bring him to shore.

Sin brings pain not only to the one who commits it, but to those who see it and are near it.  Look around you at those who look up to you, or those that just fellowship with you.  Is that favorite sin worth it if it entangles them?  Will they one day use the same excuses you do to condone this sin?
Jesus called us to be a light to the world.  Light has no darkness in it.  Darkness cannot be seen when the light is on.  But we sometimes want an off switch for our light, to dabble in a little bit of sin and darkness.  Funny thing is…Jesus didn’t give us an off switch.  He said “let your light shine” (Matthew 5:16) so that what you do will be seen by others, and glorify God.  We are called ‘Christ’ians, called by His name.  When we sin, we bring dishonor to His name.  But we also bring the contagion of sin to those who watch us, and those that may not have been vaccinated by the righteousness of His Salvation. 

We should always confess our sins to God in prayer.  Though salvation brings the atonement of sins from our past, present and future, we still need to confess them and ‘clear the air’ with God.  But sometimes we also must confess our sins to those who are watching, to those that have seen our light flicker.  Being a Christian isn’t about being seen as perfect.  Pretending you are perfect is lying, and yes, that’s a sin too.  Being a Christian is allowing others to know you are not perfect, but you have trusted in Jesus who is perfect and received His righteousness as atonement for your sins, and the Holy Spirit as your guide.  That relationship causes you to want to be more like Him.  Don’t fear public confession – embrace it.  It will kill the contagion of sin.

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