Temptations To Sin
(Matthew 18.6-9; Luke 17.1,2)
42It will be terrible for people who cause even one of my little followers to sin. Those people would be better off thrown into the ocean with a heavy stone tied around their necks. 43-44 So if your hand causes you to sin, cut it off! You would be better off to go into life paralyzed than to have two hands and be thrown into the fires of hell that never go out. 45-46If your foot causes you to sin, chop it off. You would be better off to go into life lame than to have two feet and be thrown into hell. 47 If your eye causes you to sin, get rid of it. You would be better off to go into God's kingdom with only one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into hell. 48 The worms there never die, and the fire never stops burning.
49Everyone must be salted with fire.
50 Salt is good. But if it no longer tastes like salt, how can it be made salty again? Have salt among you and live at peace with each other.
“It’s only snow. You need to apologize to your son!” I was too furious to listen to my wife’s words. My son had just arrived at our house. I was halfway through snow-blowing the driveway. Without thinking, he tried to get his truck up the drive and got stuck. All the maneuvering that came next tore up my lawn. It also packed down the remaining snow, making it impossible to clear with the snow-blower.
“What are you doing? This is crazy!” I roared at my son. He stormed out of the house. For days, we didn’t speak. I knew I shouldn’t have treated him like that. But I was too angry to apologize. I wanted him to apologize to me! I wasn’t ready to deal with my sin.
We all sin. Jesus tells us it’s vital to deal with the sin in our lives: “If your hand causes you to sin, cut it off!” What he wants is for us to be ruthless in how we confront sin.
One key reason for this is our influence. As Jesus’ followers, we’re leaders to those just beginning the faith journey. It’s a terrible thing, Jesus says, for a disciple to teach one of his “little followers” to sin. Another reason is for our own good. Sin has the power to destroy our lives and our relationships.
Do we really need to cut off our limbs? No.The key is to confess and repent as quickly as possible. Jesus is just as quick to forgive and restore! It took me a few days, but I was able to apologize both to God and to my son. It was humbling. But the joy of my restored relationships was worth it. It was only snow. I’m thankful it didn’t turn into something far worse.
Holy God, you can’t stand even a hint of sin. By your Holy Spirit, help me to see my sin the way you do, to come to you in confession, and to let you remove it before it does lasting damage. In the name of my gracious, forgiving Saviour, Amen.