Is it more loving to tell someone a lie or to tell someone the truth, but hurt her feelings? Of course, there’s more than meets he eye here, for intent often must precede content. But, if the intent on both counts is to genuinely, sincerely love the other, what’s better?
In the latest essay our “The Pernicious Lie” series, Eunice thankfully loves us by giving the truth about ourselves in unmasking the pernicious and soul-condemning lies of compromise that we want to believe, to our peril. Please read on with a willingness to change. Comments welcomed! – Arthur
Charles Spurgeon, a British Baptist preacher, once made a startling remark about mankind, “You cannot slander human nature; it is worse than words can paint it.” Harsh words.
Scripture doesn’t paint a prettier picture. Actually, Scripture uses severely vile terms to describe man. Men are “corrupt, and have committed abominable injustice.” In all of humanity, “there is none righteous, not even one…There is none who does good.” (Romans 3:10, 12)
I don’t disagree with the truth of Scripture. Looking at the world and, especially, at my own record, I am cognitively aware of the reality of sin and its presence within me. However, even with this knowledge, in my heart of hearts I question, “Uh, really? Is sin that bad? Am I really that bad?”
On the horizontal level, leading a moral life can wear the guise of sinlessness. As long as you don’t do horribly bad things, you’re okay. Just make sure you go to church on Sundays, read your Bible occasionally, and generally keep the Ten Commandments. When I evaluate myself according to that scale, I seem to be doing just fine. I can give myself a pat on the back and move on with my day.
Then, why is God making such a big fuss? What’s the big deal?
The prophet Jeremiah speaks on behalf of the Lord:
“For My people have committed two evils: They have forsaken Me, the fountain of living waters, to hew for themselves cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water.” (Jeremiah 2:13)
As I let this pierce through my heart, I realize the great weight of my sin. Sin is not just simply a ‘missing of the mark’, although it includes this. Sin is worth infinite condemnation because of who it offends. John Bunyan goes further to describe sin as “the dare of God’s justice, the rape of His mercy, the jeer of His patience, the slight of His power, the contempt of His love!” Each time I disregard my mother’s words, diminish the imago dei in another person, worry about my future, or covet the talents of a close friend, I take a stab at God. His heart.
For the typical Christian, we easily play the game of blurring the lines between black and white, and make everything ‘gray.’ Drinking is fine; just make sure you don’t drink too much. Dating that person is okay; just make sure that the person goes to church. We can dabble in activities of the world; just make sure that we still maintain our Christian label. John Wesley’s mother, Susanna Wesley, with precise words described sin as “that which weakens your reasoning, impairs the tenderness of your conscience, obscures your sense of God, or takes away your relish for spiritual things—in short, if anything increases the authority and power of the flesh over the spirit— that to you becomes sin, however good it is in itself.” Anything and everything that pulls you away from a closer fellowship with the Lord, Your Heavenly Father, is sin.
When the exterior—one’s looks, reputation, accomplishments, talents, personality, and self-esteem—is stripped away, every man is nothing more than a filthy, murderous, delusional harlot, seeking satisfaction and salvation from every where and anywhere else, except from God, her true Love. Under all our make-up, our bodies are temples for the indulgence of lusts and the worship of idols.
Christian brother, Christian sister, do not be deceived, “for when lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin, and when sin is accomplished, it brings forth death.” Do not think that your actions— no matter how small, insignificant, or trivial— don’t have eternal consequences.
– Eunice Im