Topic: “Not a Hint”, 11/19/2001, Ephesians 5: 3-7
The author has the uncanny ability to piss me off in some of these entries. Perhaps one page or less isn’t enough space for her to fully explain what she means by what she says. Or perhaps she intends to bother her readers and sound a bit high and mighty. I’m not saying her choice of verses and topics aren’t good ones…though not all of them I can relate with, hence do not write about. I suppose I wish she was a little more encompasing in her topics. No I don’t want her to sugar coat ‘sin’ as she defines it but I’d like it if she didn’t freak out ‘new’ Christians who might pick up her book and think–holy ‘$%!@’ and question Christianitys sincerity. I’ll explain further.
The verse is Ephesians 5: 3-7 and she highlights verse 3:
But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people… (NIV)
She goes on to say that God asks that we live in such a way that there is not even a hint of sin and lists what she considers ‘hints’.
- Maybe you aren’t having sex, but do you spend the night alone at someone’s house when you are not married?
- Maybe you don’t drink but do you hang out at parties where they serve alcohol and maybe drugs?
- Maybe you don’t cheat, but do you allow someone to cheat off your paper?
- Maybe you don’t steal but do you look the other way when others at the company do?
- Maybe you obey your parents, but do you cover for your siblings who are rebelling?
- Maybe you don’t beat your children but do you ignore a situation where another child might be abused?
- Maybe you aren’t a prostitute but do you dress like one?
- Maybe you don’t buy porn but do you read explicit romance literature or watch movies with nudity?
She finishes the entry with “Look at the hints you are leaving in life. Do they point to the Savior or sin?”
This is the part where I am supposed to fall down on my knees crying and repenting about the hints of sin in my life totally ‘convicted’ right? Now I understand this verse and many others…more than you may know. I’ve had them thrown at me throughout my life by various people, more recently by my church here which went to great lengths to split Tyghe and I up because they said we shouldn’t no live together prior to marriage even though we were not sleeping together.
Now I completely understand the premise of, as a Christian, not being a stumbling block to others–absolutely, so I have no problem not being involved in my church until Tyghe and I are married, that’s fine. And if someone were to ask me about whether to live together before marriage I’d probably say no, I do not see it as necessary to live with someone prior to marriage…in order to justify marrying them. Either you love them and you are going to get married or not, I don’t believe living together should be the hinge that decides whether you marry someone, although for some people I know it is. Us living together was not and is not a ‘test run’ on marriage with an opt out option. We live together because, aside from the fact we are a couple, I moved around the world and he came with me and I simply refused to live alone. If that makes me a sinner, so be it, not exactly a surprise–we are all sinners…you all higher and mightier than me can pray about that. As far as I can find in the Bible it discusses living together is not desirable because it’ll ‘lead’ to things (enter ominous music) and apparently young people have no self-control. Actually according to the Bible, by some interpretations, none of us should leave our parents houses til we get married (Genesis 2:24-25, Matthew 19:5…and most other verses like in Matthew re-quote what is said in Genesis), –DOH! I think half of civilization is screwing that one up then.
Moving down the list…not drinking but attending a party where there is drinking. Some of my friends, very devout Christians I’ve seen in the mix of a party without drinking alcohol. Do I immediately think sinner or hypocrite? No. Nor do I think most people would think that. If anything I think it opens up conversation because most people become curious as to why you are not drinking and it opens a door to talk about your faith and why.
She, the author, gives a very ‘guilt by association’ outlook on this. We live in a world of sin, we are surrounded by people who do horrible things everyday. Some of which we don’t ‘point’ out and cry ‘foul’ for safety reasons or simply because perhaps out intervention would harm more than help. A child being abused? That’s everyone’s business. If you have indications a child is being abused for the love of ‘insert who you believe in’, tell someone! A couple living together or a Christian friend attending a party where there’s alcohol even though they are not drinking…unless they bring it up to you and ask your advice/counsel, no not your business. If you are curious as to why they are doing something, ask, don’t condemn.
Living lives that are around ‘contentious’ or ‘sensitive’ areas or topics doesn’t mean we are ‘flirting with all kinds of lurid sin’. It means we choose not to live in a the limited holier-than-thou bubble where the non-Christian is unreachable. I had a friend that would routinely tell people they were going to hell when they cussed or discussed situations that the Bible says to stay out of. Needless to say she didn’t ‘reach’ many people because they were too busy hating her and ostracizing her. You can live an upright life and be a good example without making it habit to damn people to hell. I’m sure they’d appreciate it.
I myself am jaded by my fellow Christians. I don’t like talking to them and many times I am very cautious meeting other Christians, because I automatically assume they are full of ‘false-concern’, judgement and ‘wow I am just so better than you attitude’. I find myself always questioning their sincerity…terrible isn’t it? I’ll open up to a non-believer SO much faster than I will to a Christian. Not because I think I’ll get approval from a non-believer, I don’t open up with the intention of getting ‘approval’ for my life, but non-believers are so much less judgemental! When one opens up about their life and yes their sins or what may appear to be ‘flirting with…’ sin–one doesn’t want to be confronted with judgement and condemnation; especially from someone they barely know and that barely knows them. I’m not saying sins shouldn’t be dealt with but the first time someone opens up their heart and life to you is NOT it or rather shouldn’t be it.
Are there ‘hint’s of sin’ in my life? Am I flirting with ‘fill in the blank’? The way I see my life and what’s in my heart…No. I know exactly where I stand on those issues. As it outwardly appears to others…then yes, perhaps there are hints or ‘flirts’ in my life that may point to ‘sin’ when others look at my life. So then comes the retort that I am a stumbling block for others because I am not pious enough. Fair enough, but I am not involved in ministry and I suppose I give more people credit for their views and beliefs. Somehow if someone seeks out my life and finds these things they don’t understand, I really don’t feel its going to toss them into the downward spiral of backsliding and subsequent hell. I don’t seek approval for it, for my life. If my choices illicit curiosity then people should ask.
Besides I challenge every pious person to really examine there life…everyone has ‘flirted with…’ aspects of sin or been implicated in situations that could ‘point to sin’, ie. a party with alcohol, watching your siblings disobey, noticing others steal or cheat, or watching a movie where someone frolicks nude. And if you haven’t at any time in your life, wow, kudos to you I am truly impressed…now if you are also a sincere person then by all means pray for me. I apparently could use all I can get.