Sin is stupid. The commonly held view is that God just wants to spoil our fun. Nothing is further from the truth. God hates sin because it distorts us, disappoints us, and in the end damns us if we won’t let it go.
Meet my friend, Hugh. He has a ready smile, twinkling eyes, a firm handshake. He plays the guitar and sings well, too. But Hugh had a dark secret.
He began to dabble in drugs in his youth, but the words “drugs” and “dabble” have a fickle relationship. Soon he was enslaved. The apostle James writes, “When desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death” (Jas 1:15).
Everybody likes a cute baby. A little office flirting, or sweet thoughts of revenge, or clever put-downs of others — it all seems harmless enough. But the offspring of wrong desires doesn’t stay a baby for long.
Here is James’ point: The smallest a sin will ever be is the first time you do it. But sin grows into a monster that will destroy you. Everybody thinks they can housetrain the monster, like having a jackal for a pet. But one day it gets you.
Recently the Christian church has been rocked in discovering that several high-profile leaders have feet of clay, like the rest of us. They were intelligent, and could explain big ideas in lofty terms. But they seemed not to have mastered the truth contained in eight monosyllables: “Be sure your sin will find you out” (Num 32:23).
So it was with Hugh. His path into addiction led him through the labyrinth of unfulfilled lust to the gates of hell. But Hugh had an aunt who prayed for him. Not perfunctory, anemic words. Hers were what the old-timers called wrestling with God. And God answered.
Lying on a flophouse floor, though drugs addled his brain, Hugh knew he was dying. But through his self-induced nightmare, the words of Scripture reached his soul: “Whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved” (Rom 10:13). Like a drowning man, Hugh took the lifeline and God rescued him.
I wish I could tell you the rest of the story was all happily ever after, but it wasn’t. At one point, Hugh became deeply discouraged. A so-called friend offered him a “pick-me-up” that did just the opposite.
Sitting one night in a bar, Hugh through his mental fog saw a woman take the karaoke mike and begin to sing. He heard some familiar words by William Featherston: “My Jesus, I love Thee, I know Thou art mine; For Thee all the follies Of sin I resign…”
Of course she wasn’t singing that! But that’s all Hugh could hear. In answer to a wife’s heartbreak and an aunt’s long-ago prayers, God rescued him again. When he returned home, sober and resolute, he told his son, “Daddy’s come back to the Lord.” The little fellow silently found the step stool and climbed up so he could reach around his father’s neck. “I’m so happy,” he whispered. And God was, too.
Are you peeking at porn? Playing footsies online? Gossiping? Holding grudges? Nip “the follies of sin” in the bud. Because if not, they will destroy you. Be sure. Your sin. Will find. You out.