A few days ago, I was waiting in line at CVS. Because the line was moving slowly, the father, with his preschool son behind me, decided to go to the self-checkout lane. I watched as he quickly scanned and bagged his items.
Then, all of a sudden, he looked over to his son and said, "No, no, no! Those aren't ours!"
The little boy squealed, "Mine!"
Then the father replied, "Not yours. We didn't pay for that!" as he emptied his little klepto's pockets and returned the candy his son was stealing.
Of course, the father was embarrassed as he finished checking out. Not having kids of my own, I thought it was adorable and laughed to myself. As all my friends with kids will tell you, this is common for me. A kid does something wrong, and while the parents are correcting them, I think, "That's so cute."
Meanwhile, the parents are saying, "It's not cute. It's theft! You can't be taken in by the cuteness—wrong is still wrong."
I was thinking about this as I was preparing to discuss the fundamental truths about sin.
One of the biggest lies in today's world is that too many people believe that God looks at sin the way I looked at the little preschool thief at the CVS.
Too many people believe the lie that "Because God loves me, He thinks I'm adorable. When I sin, He thinks it's cute. He knows it's wrong, but because of His love, He understands. He knows what I'm going through or what I've been through, and He gets it."
Feeding into this lie, churches today don't talk about "sin ." Instead, they talk about people's "messes," "issues," "mistakes," and "problems."
This makes it sound so much nicer, cuter, less dangerous, and less serious than it actually is.
It's easier for people to hear. It's less offensive.
There's only one gigantic problem: in the eyes of God, Who is completely holy, sin is not cute. It's offensive.
Remember when we talked about the character trait that said God is holy? By definition, this means that: God is pure and complete in character. He is totally without sin and absolutely right in everything He thinks and does. God's holiness means that He is separated from all evil.
Sin literally offends Him. By His very nature, God is separated from sin and sinful humanity.
God doesn't think sin is cute; He finds it offensive.
God isn't laughing it off; He takes it very seriously.
If we are going to be honest with ourselves and other people, we need to take sin seriously, too.
Rather than excusing our sin and saying, "God understands," we need to repent of it, flee from it, and overcome it.
Because not only is sin a serious offense in God's eyes, but it also carries serious consequences.
The Bible says, "The wages of sin is death." (Romans 6:23)
This doesn't just mean the physical death that entered the world when Adam and Eve sinned, but the eternal death of life apart from God in Hell for all eternity.
The fact is that sin separates you from God.
Sin can keep you out of Heaven.
And sin will reap painful consequences here on earth.
"But Des', what about grace? What about mercy? What about forgiveness and God's love???"
All of these things are absolutely true! They are all part of God's character and are available to everyone.
Without God's love, grace and forgiveness, we would all be doomed to a life of destruction and eternity in Hell.
However, God's love, grace, and forgiveness are to take away our sins and give us a new life, not condone a sinful, unrepentant, rebellious life.
God sent His Son into the world to forgive sins and help us overcome sin in our lives.
While He is merciful and gracious to forgive sin, that doesn't mean He condones it.
Believing anything else is a big lie that only hurts the people who hear and believe it.
Why? Because sin hurts people.
Sin is destructive. It ruins lives, and it hurts people's souls. Even though it may bring pleasure or comfort for a season, in the end, it only brings pain, heartache, and separation from God.
When we are honest with ourselves and others about sin, even if it is momentarily painful, if it results in repentance and change, the end result is hope and healing.
That is God's grace…offering people who have sinned against Him the opportunity to be forgiven and overcome sin in their lives.
Grace doesn't mean God excuses sin. It means He helps us overcome it.
This is the truth, and anything else is a big lie.
Adessa Holden is an ordained minister with the Assemblies of God specializing in Women's Ministry. Together with her brother, Jamie, they manage 4One Ministries and travel the East Coast speaking, holding conferences, and producing Men's and Women's resources that provide practical Biblical teaching for everyday life.
When asked about herself, she'll tell you "I'm a women's minister, a sister, and a daughter. I love to laugh and spend time with people. My favorite things are chocolate, the ocean, sandals and white capris, anything purple, summertime and riding in the car listening to music. It is my absolute honor and privilege to serve Jesus and women through this ministry."