When Your Life Bumps Into Sin

bumper cars

Bumper cars are one of the carnival rides at Dollywood’s amusement park near us.  The fun of the ride is doing exactly what its name says – bumping – into another car, into the walls and the poles around the structure.  The cars are equipped with soft bumpers so the “crashes” don’t hurt you or anything you hit (Wouldn’t that be helpful at those drive-in’s where scratches and bumps are inevitable?!). Anyway…

It’s fun to go in with a group and get an eye on your target car and head for them as quickly as that little electronic car will let you travel.  Their car goes reeling and you speed off, laughing that you got the first “hit!”

That fun scene isn’t so pleasant when the “bumping” happens when your life crashes into a situation that is sinful.  I recently had an alarming experience when I slammed right into a lifestyle that is not only different from anything I’ve ever been close to, but one that the Bible renounces.  I didn’t know how to respond.  I was blown away.  I was burdened for those involved.  And honestly, I felt offended by the bruise it gave my soul.

For days I could not shake the disturbance this scene caused.  I prayed about it.  I pondered my response, and then I turned to God’s Word and dug in, looking for what God wanted me to learn.  If I wanted to know how believers are to respond when their life bumps into sinful situations, I needed to be reminded of how Jesus responded.  I turned to John, Chapters 2 and 4.

In John 2 we find Jesus overturning the tables of the money-changers in the Temple.

In John 4 Jesus meets the Woman at the well – the lady who had been married multiple times, and was now living with a man to whom she was not married.

The way He responded to the sins of both of these people taught me how He expects me to respond as well.

When my life bumps into sinners ~

  1. Consider the location
    • At church – Sin shouldn’t be practiced in this place.  The money-changer was selling in the Temple, the place where worship and the teaching of God’s Word was to occur.
    • In the world – We should expect it!  There’s no reason to be surprised by sin here; these dear people don’t know the Redeemer (yet!).
  2. Consider the person
    • Money-Changers sold for a religious occasion out of a greedy heart.  They were making merchandise of this Holy custom.
    • The Samaritan woman married five times to fill a void in her life.  She knew no better!
  3. Consider the need
    • The Money-Changers were making a living by abusing the Passover.
    • The Samaritan Woman lived this way due to her sinful nature.  She didn’t know better (yet!).

Application for you and me:

  • Sin is never to be overlooked, ignored or tolerated.  That sin that I bumped into was in the world, a place where I shouldn’t be surprised at seeing it, but that doesn’t mean I can accept it – it’s still an offence against a holy God.
  • Sin should be answered through the Scripture.  We mustn’t  argue or debate the truth – we share it with the love that Christ showed the Samaritan Woman.  We engage in the sinner’s life and ask good questions that will give us the opportunity to give God’s Word as the answer their hungry hearts are seeking.
  • Sinners should be introduced to Jesus – John 4:29
  • Share and live the Truth, then allow sinners to make up their own mind – to turn to Jesus or not. John 4:42
  • My response – 
    • In the world:
      • Love the sinner
      • Point to Jesus
      • Live out the life of a believer
      • Go my way looking for other sinners.
    • In the church:
      • Remember your own sin first!   If it were not for God’s grace, we, too, could be overcome with sin.
      • With a humble heart, point out the sin to those that claim Christ.
      • Use God’s Word, not my standard.
      • Ask questions.
      • Pray for change and then let the Holy Spirit do the convicting (we cannot change anyone).

Though I didn’t especially enjoy the bumper car experience when I banged up against sin in the world, I’m so thankful for what God taught me after the crash!  I pray that my response will be biblical, both in the world and in my church from here on out.

Oh, and if I ever see you across the arena of the Bumper Car course, look out!Image result for emoji images

 

Have you struggled with how to respond to blatant sin in the world?  How about at church?

Denise Signature 150 px

That One Little Thing

It was just a finger.  One little pointer finger, but it was placed in the middle of MY omelet at a restaurant, and it turned my appetite sour!  Let me explain.

It was late at night and my husband and some friends and I had been out for the evening.  It was too late for common restaurants to be open, so we stopped at what I believe was a Waffle House, or that sort of place that’s open all night.

When we got there, our group overwhelmed the tiny establishment, so they called for reinforcements to help wait tables.  I’m not sure where our waitress came from, but she wasn’t dressed the part of a server, but more like someone who was in charge of unloading the truck or cleaning out the dumpster out back.  She wore a big, baggy sweatshirt and her hands and nails looked like it had been a long time since they’d been washed or manicured.  “At least she’s not touching our food,” we all  thought.

When the food was brought to the table, it seems that myself and someone else had both ordered an omelet.  One was a ham omelet and one just cheese.  “I had the ham omelet,” I managed to say, hoping her thumb wouldn’t enter the safety zone of my food as she set the plate down.  A puzzled look fell across her face as she looked at the two plates containing the omelets.  Then to my horror, she stuck one of her fingers into the folded flap of my omelet to make sure it was the one containing the ham!  “Yep, this one’s yours!” she said as she set the now contaminated eggs before me. That one finger, such a little thing, compared to a whole hand, but it was all that was needed to ruin the meal.

Do you ever think about the one lie you told to avoid an awkward situation, or the gossip tidbit you shared, or the small bitterness towards a co-worker, and think “It’s just a small thing.  It’s dismissed because everyone talks about others at one time or another, or it’s understandable that we’d lie if we were in that situation!  But, like my omelet, by that One Little Thing you have been defiled by that sin.  Now when you go to pray and seek God’s direction or wisdom or leadership or provision you wonder why it seems that heaven is shut up or that your requests fall on God’s ears as it would a mute man.  We feel that way because that’s exactly what happens when there is one little sin in our heart.  It separates us from God.

The prayer of the upright is His delight.  Proverbs 15:8

If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me.Psalm 16:18

You’re probably wondering if I ate the omelet.  I cut that whole part off, and I think I even removed it from my plate, then I ate what was left.  In a MUCH higher sense, when we confess our sin, God removes it from us and then He can use us.  He can hear and answer our prayer now that the defilement has been “cut off.”

Don’t let one little thing keep you from being in close fellowship with the Lord.  If He points out something in your life, get it right with the one you sinned against, and with Him.  It’s then that your spiritual appetite will be renewed!

I’ve never ordered an omelet since then that I didn’t think of that experience!  May we be as mindful of the displeasure of our sin!

With love,