Jim Johnson – 749 words
I am a grandparent who proudly wears the name Papaw. My wife was named by our first grandson who dubbed her “Mammo” which means that when a grandkid gets a birthday card from her, it’s a mammogram.
The little ones make me laugh and sometimes think.
My 4-year-old granddaughter was exploring her nose and was mining it with the intensity of a 49er during the gold rush. It went from there into her mouth. Her mother, the science major, decided to teach her that this is not something that children do. (This was her first born – she didn’t know any better.) Using biology, she explained how God made our bodies to expel those nasty boogers because they were full of pollen, dirt and germs. The girl replied, “But I think they’re delicious!” Now there is an honest young lady.
“Stolen waters are sweet.” That’s how Solomon described the irony. It’s crazy. When we reach for something we know we shouldn’t have or do something we know we shouldn’t do – we are rewarded with a brief sweet sensation. Sin excites us and delights us – it tastes good to us. It is delicious! A guy cheats on his wife because of it. A girl steals a debit card because of it.
Sin may be sweet, but it is most definitely not good for us. Solomon continued, “Stolen waters are sweet, and food obtained in secret is pleasant! But they do not realize that the dead are there, that her guests are in the depths of the grave.” (Proverbs 9:17-18, NET Bible).
He argued that sin always, always has a cost – a broken marriage, maybe jail, sometimes even death. In fact, always death, when you consider the deadness and guilt that comes to the soul that defies God.
The collections person called, to tell me, a pastor, that I was behind on my bill. This wasn’t good. It tasted bitter to me, so I opted for something sweeter. I replied, “Oh yes I just mailed the check today.”
There – that felt a lot better – but then it didn’t. An inky haze of guilt began to suffocate me – because – I had lied to her. I really did – and me a pastor! I couldn’t believe it. By God’s grace, I summoned the courage to say, “Hey, I am sorry, I just lied to you. I will put the check in the mail as soon as I hang up.” Believe me that moment of sweetness was not worth the shame that followed.
Not long ago I was taught by another 4-year-old. My grandson sat down beside his mammo with a Danish sugar cookie in hand – the kind topped with big glittering crystals. He’s a deep thinker – probably will teach philosophy one day. After contemplating his crystal coated cookie, he confided to mammo, “I am going to call these salt because I am not allowed to eat sugar.”
He was so dishonestly honest! Change the name or the perception and the taboo becomes yahoo – and this is what we do? A guy told himself that he was borrowing a friend’s bike, but then he later sold it and pocketed the money. Isn’t that what we used to call stealing? She has a problem telling the truth, but when she gets caught she tells herself it was just a misunderstanding – another lie!
I remember borrowing a Bible when I was a teen. I scoured it to prove to a friend and to myself that the Bible had nothing to say about sex outside of marriage. I was right! Permission granted! It wasn’t until my vocabulary had grown and my conscience had become tender that I learned the word fornication – the biblical word for sex outside of marriage. Oops! God was and always has been against it after all.
My grandson was ridiculously honest about what he was doing. But, many of us are so practiced in our charade that we have come to believe the lies we live. I wish I could tell you one of the many stories of sin that I have seen and have counseled as a pastor. Out of concern for those people (and my allergy to lawsuits) I will not. But I can be candid about my own sad experiences and tell you that sin is nothing to mess with.
To paraphrase the words of my daughter in law “God made our souls to expel such stuff.”
Anyone need a tissue?
For the record, Jesus is God’s primary solution for our sin. Listen to the lyrics of a hymn that my daughter and I put together – “Tis So Sweet.”