Friday, May 11, 2012

Sin, The Ultimate Abusive Ex

This week I was listening to some music on my way home from work and I heard one of the many songs that have to do with lost love, in particularly, lost destructive love.  If we do not have for ourselves, we all know someone who has in their past that one person who really affected them.  The relationship may be been physically and/or emotionally abusive and terribly one-sided, and yet it was a relationship that was so hard to break free from.  Despite the pain, despite the betrayal, despite anyone and everyone telling you how horrible that person was to you, you kept being drawn back to that person.  I, at one time, had that kind of person in my life.  Thinking of this person, she is an even better example of what I am talking about.  One of her many betrayals was to go back with her version of that person, a man who beat her, pulled out her hair, exposed her to drugs, and even at one time in their relationship raped her.  Yet she was drawn back to him.  I am not here today to talk about lost loves, though, but I got to thinking that this is a lot like our relationship with sin.  For what I mean, let's look at some Scripture.
For if, after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overcome, the latter end is worse for them than the beginning. For it would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than having known [it], to turn from the holy commandment delivered to them. But it has happened to them according to the true proverb: "A dog returns to his own vomit," and, "a sow, having washed, to her wallowing in the mire."  2 Peter 2:20 NKJV

As a dog returns to his own vomit, [So] a fool repeats his folly.  Proverbs 26:11 NKJV
Why do we return to sin knowing we are freed from its bonds?  Why do we return to sin when we know how destructive it is?  Why do we return to sin when we know how filthy and disgusting it is?  Why do we have that relationship with old sin that keeps making us desire to go back to it?  I think for several reasons, many of them the same as why we tend to go back into bad relationships.  I included the passage from Proverbs just to point out what fools we are for doing so. 

First let's talk about the relationship we have with sin.  We need to think about how sin treated us.  Whatever it gives to us, it only does so to distract from everything else it takes from us.  Whatever the sin, whatever "fun" it provides for you, you need to understand that what it is taking is so much more.  It may give you carnal pleasure, but it exposes you to sickness and death at least spiritually and oftentimes physically as well.  It may provide you with money, but it takes away any inclination you may have had for having to rely on God.  It may get you high, but it is destroying your body.  In all cases, it is keeping you from Jesus.  In all cases, it separates us from God.  If not for Jesus, it would sweep us all into Hell, which is just where sin wants us.  Sin cares nothing about us, it only exists as a means to rebel against God.  It only exists to serve itself while destroying you.  It manipulates us, temps us, and entices us.  Even worse, it knows us.  It knows what our weaknesses are and knows how to exploit them.  Sin is more ruthless, destructive, selfish, and abusive than any lover we can ever have and while the lover may want to own your life, sin wants to own your soul 

So why do we go back to sin?  Why do those old sins still rear their ugly heads and many time suck us right back into their evil arms?  The first reason is that we tend to idealize things in the past.  Just as in a bad relationship, we tend to remember the good times over the bad.  In fact, we go back with the hopes of reliving those good times hoping the bad will not come along with it.  This is the same with sin.  We remember how good it made us feel, not how it was destroying us.  We know the struggle of temptation can end as soon as we just give into it, giving up one pain for another much worse pain.  We remember the fun we had looking back as though they were still some kind of glory days and forget how that sin enslaved us and made us miserable.  We forget why we came to Jesus to begin with, hoping to be free from the miserable bondage that slave held us in. 

Another reason we go back is that we love familiarity.  When we get out of a long term bad relationship, our lives change.  Even though it was painful. that relationship still consumed much of our lives.  It gave us a certain masochistic comfort where the known pain was better than the fear of the unknown.  Many can not bear to live with the fear of an unknown future and run back to what becomes a security blanket forgetting that it was a prison.  This is sort of reminiscent as to how a dog will end up seeing his cage as a comfort zone at some point.  What we used to keep him in to keep him out of trouble becomes its refuge in times of trouble.  This, again, is the same as sin.  Sin, especially long-term well established sin, runs its tentacles throughout our lives.  It defines a large part of who we were.  It filled our time.  It was a place of comfort and familiarity.  Living in Jesus and free from that sin, we sometimes fear that we can not live this new life apart from that sin.  We go back into our cages where we are comfortable scared of the freedom we now have in Christ. 

We also go back to sin because sin knows us.  Again, this is just like an abusive relationship.  Abusers know their victims.  They know their fears, their joys, their hopes, and what buttons to press to get whatever desired result they want.  They are master manipulators.  They know how to lead someone on just enough to continue to take the abuse.  Sin is also a master manipulator.  It knows the weaknesses of or flesh.  It knows what buttons to press to get us to act.  It knows where we are likely to fall.  Sometimes that temptation can be relentless saying all the right things and pressing all the right buttons.  If Satan was so bold as to relentlessly tempt our Lord who was tempted in every area that we are tempted in, do you not think he will try to do the same to us?  He does, and sadly, he finds success far too often. 

We get sucked back into our old sins for the same reasons that we get into or go back to bad relationships.  They are pleasing, but only for a time.  An abuser, even in a rekindled relationship, does not start out as abusive.  That person starts off as warm and caring and loving as you always wanted that person to be.  Those feelings for the good overcome the knowledge of the bad and we are sucked back in.  Once firmly ensnared in the trap, the bad begins all over again, and usually worse.  Worse to keep you from leaving.  Worse to make sure you feel you have no other choice.  Worse to make sure you feel as low and miserable as you possibly can.  For the abuser, that person wants you to believe that no one else can ever love you.  For sin, it wants you to believe that God can not ever love you.  The Bible says that sin is fun for a season, but that season always comes to a hard crashing end. 

I know I personified sin in this post and I know that sin is not a person.  However, the author of sin is and that person is Satan.  He is also the father of lies and uses clever and manipulative lies to try and get you to see good in sin.  Basically, he is plating vomit and trying to make you see filet Mignon instead.  Do not fall for his tricks. He is not your friend and only wishes to devour you.  Even in that he cares nothing for you except what he thinks he accomplishes in his hateful vendetta against God.  He know he is defeated and you are only part of the trouble he is looking to cause on his way to eternal defeat.  You are nothing to him.  Just as he tempted Eve and just as he tried to tempt our Lord, he will come at us as well.  Whatever looks good about sin is a filthy rotten miserable lie.  Sin is not fun, sin is not comfortable, sin is not good for us, and there is no sin that you can not live without.  Stand strong against temptation when it comes, no matter how strong it seems, God is infinitely stronger and it is by His strength that we can resist and live victorious lives in Christ.  Leave the vomit for the dogs, you are a child of God free from the filth of your past and destined for a glorious future better than you could ever imagine. 
No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God [is] faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear [it].  1 Corinthians 10:13 NKJV

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