Sometimes, we think of sin like candy: a little bit is arguably good for you. It’s only a problem if you have too much. If you eat nothing but cheesecake all day, your pancreas will eventually give out, but a little indulgence here and there isn’t bad.
We should look at sin more like cancer. No one is okay with a tumor, no matter how small it is. When there’s cancer within you, you take drastic measures to destroy it.
That’s what I talked about last Sunday at Spring Valley Church.
Pastor Bill and most of the staff were away at a marriage retreat, and he invited me to guest-preach. It makes me particularly happy that he’d ask me because I took a preaching class from him a few years ago.
Spring Valley has been going through the book of Mark in their Sunday sermons. When Pastor Bill gave me a list of scriptures I could use, I knew I had to talk about the part where Herod chops off John the Baptist’s head. I had a direction in mind when I started researching the story, but God nudged me in a different direction.
In the end, my sermon was about how our view of sin affects us and those around us. I suggested three reminders for when we’re faced with temptation:
Don’t nurture death. There’s always a point behind temptation: to separate you from God, which is lethal to the soul. Think beyond what you’re being tempted with to the consequences of sin.
Don’t normalize evil. The more you’re in the midst of sin, the less it seems like sin. Like a friend of mine once said, “It’s appalling what people can get used to.” Remember that what you accept now may become your new normal.
Don’t bring trouble on those you love. There is no such thing as a private sin. Your actions affect others, whether by direct consequences or through your personal example. Think about how many of your parents’ hang-ups you inherited.
Thanks to Pastor Bill and everyone at Spring Valley for the chance to preach!