The One Sin You Ignore

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Woman with finger to her lips in an attempt to ignore sin
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Sin is fun.  Let’s just get that out there right now.  If sin wasn’t such an attractive thing, nobody would do it.  But by and large, if you have had a relationship with the Lord for any length of time, you’ve probably been able to build up a level of self-discipline, at least with the big things.

However, as none of us are perfect, there are going to be certain things that creep in every once and again.  Now, I’m not talking about those struggles in how we deal with others or in how we manage our finances.  I’m referring to those things we don’t want to give up.  Those areas in which we’ve been convicted by the Holy Spirit.

My Own Ignored Sin

This week, something happened in our household that I am not too proud to admit.  My son, who has always hated to read, picked up a book a few weeks ago that is the first of a series that his sister has been reading.  He loved it so much, that for the first time ever, he purposefully chose reading over the games on his tablet.

But I found out recently that this series introduces some contemporary cultural elements that we aren’t quite yet ready for our children to be privy to, and we had to make the very tough decision to not let them read any further.  Both of our children were devastated, however the decision led to a fantastic discussion about guarding our hearts against the darker things of this world.

That evening, feeling a mixture of emotions (but mostly pride in making the right decision for our family), my husband and I sat down to watch our evening shows.  And ugh…..the conviction!!  We were about 5 or 6 seasons into a show that celebrated the shamelessness of sin.  Sex, nudity, drugs, theft, murder, you name it, the show had it in great descriptive detail.

And you know what I did?!  Nothing.  I ignored the pit in my stomach, because….well, the show was so good!!  I really enjoyed watching it.  The story line was fantastic, the characters were endearing, and it gave us something to watch in-between those other shows that only come out once a week.

A hand holding a remote at a blurred tv in presumed unrepentant sin

But here’s the conundrum – I myself was doing the very thing I had taught my kids against.

So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin.   

James 4:17

Willful Disobedience

Why is it that we ignore the sin that we don’t want to let go of? Why is it so hard to deny ourselves the momentary pleasure for the sake of gaining the eternal treasure?

I’m not so sure I can answer these questions.  Maybe the answers would be different for you anyway.  But I can say that we cannot stick our heads in the sand.  Pretending to not be convicted of your sin is not the same as not being convicted.  Ignoring the problem will not make it go away.

What I do know is that whichever we choose to keep in our life, the momentary sin or the eternal God, that is where our loyalties lie.

“No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.”   

Matthew 6:24

While this verse comes from a point Jesus was making about the love of wealth, I’d argue that you could swap out the word “money” for whatever it is that you are struggling to let go.

In relation to your unrepented sin, you cannot both obey God in all things and disobey Him in some things.  It doesn’t work that way.  Whatever your excuse:

  • “I can’t be expected to be good all of the time.”
  • “I’m not sensitive to that kind of material.”
  • “I’ve seen and done worse.”
  • “Sanctification is a journey, and I’m not there yet.”

Whatever my excuse, it’s just that – an excuse. 

Whoever says “I know him” but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him   

1 John 2:4

Sin is inevitable.  We are human, and that’s the downside unfortunately.  But if we are not working towards obedience in Christ, if we are openly and defiantly committing our sins, then we are liars, and the truth is not in us.  That may sound harsh, but it’s truth and there is no changing it to make us feel better about our choices.

Consequences of Sin

Sin creates separation from God.  Not just in the future tense (although that is also true), but in the here and now.  Going back to the original sin, when Adam and Eve both ate the fruit in the Garden of Eden, what was the first thing they did?  They hid.  They heard God walking in the Garden, coming down to visit with them, and they hid (Genesis 3:6-10).

Unrepented Sin - The dangers of ignoring God's grace
Behold, the Lord's hand is not shortened, that it cannot save,
    or his ear dull, that it cannot hear;
but your iniquities have made a separation
    between you and your God,
and your sins have hidden his face from you
    so that he does not hear.
For your hands are defiled with blood
    and your fingers with iniquity;
your lips have spoken lies;
    your tongue mutters wickedness.  

Isaiah 59:1-3

When you have done someone wrong, it is hard to continue talking to them in an easy, light-hearted way.  There is something there between you…a tension that only grows with time.  This is what happens with an ignored sin in our lives.  It becomes harder to pray with that growing chasm between you and God.

Nothing you do goes unnoticed by God either.  Ignoring your sin, pretending it’s not wrong, or defiantly refusing to repent, will not keep Him from seeing you clearly.  Which of course only widens that chasm.

Nothing is covered up that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known.   

Luke 12:2

It becomes impossible to maintain a healthy, growing relationship when sin is clouding things up.  This will cause you to remain stagnant in your relationship with him, missing out on the sweet intimacy only transparency and humility can bring.


God’s Grace

The good news is that God loves us, and He doesn’t want to see us fail.  He desires for us to stay close to His side and to grow in Him.  With this in mind, He will always provide for you a way to obey and to do the right thing.

No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.   

1 Corinthians 10:13

If we do mess up, and I know we will, God is so good.  He loves us and waits anxiously for our surrender.  He has promised to forgive the moment we bring it to Him and ask for His forgiveness and help.

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.   

1 John 1:9

The closer we stay by His side, the less likely we are to invite these nasty little sins into our lives, and the more likely we’ll be to notice them immediately on our own rather than waiting for the Holy Spirit’s conviction.

But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.    

Galatians 5:16
Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.   

James 4:7-8

Going back to my own personal issue, I’d like to say that the next day I came to my senses and made the executive decision to turn the show off, but I’d be lying.  It took a bit longer than that, but I did eventually come around.  I soon came to admit that the open nudity in the show made me extremely uncomfortable and I usually found myself looking away.  So if I was so uncomfortable by it, and the power of the Holy Spirit was convicting me of it, why wasn’t I obeying?

So, we turned it off.  Such a simple thing, I don’t even miss it, but man was it hard to listen right away.

Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.   

1 Peter 5:8
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