Sunday, July 18, 2010

The Worst Thing I've Ever Done

The cover of People magazine would read "Ordinary Housewife Confesses to Heinous Crime." Bored shoppers would grab a copy while waiting in line and flip through the pages to see a not-so-glamorous-photo of me with my angelic-looking three children. Inside, the story would tell about my hidden life of crime.

I can almost imagine the clucking "tisk tisk" sounds and side to side head shake of the older ladies. The middle aged crowd would gasp, their jaws dropping while their eyebrows go up.

Well, maybe the jaws and eyebrows wouldn't budge an inch. But they should.

My crime? It's worse than you think. Worse than murder. Far worse than adultery.

I'm guilty of ignoring God.

Yes, not loving God with my everything, letting pieces of the world slowly curl like tendrils around my mind and heart--I'm guilty...not just in my life before I became a Christian, but in my present-day life.

I'm sure I lost a good many readers two sentences ago. Maybe you're shaking your head, too, saying "Oh, that's not that're a good person overall." But I know myself better. I know how easy it is for me to forget God in the bustle of each day. And Scripture seems to agree with me.

For starters, I'm inherently sinful. David says of the earth's inhabitants, "there is no one who does good, not even one"(Ps. 14:3). Paul states, "There is no one righteous, not even one" (Rom. 3:10).

Then, to make matters even worse, Jesus says that by ignoring God, I've broken the "first and greatest commandment": "'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment" (Matt. 22:37-38).

I think it's safe to assume Jesus labelled it the "first and greatest" for a reason, probably the same reason God placed "No other gods before me" as #1 on his list of do's and don't's (Ex. 20:3).

God reiterates this hierarchy later when He prophesies judgment on the nation of Israel. He states, "Hear the word of the LORD, you Israelites, because the LORD has a charge to bring against you who live in the land: "There is no faithfulness, no love, no acknowledgment of God in the land. There is only cursing, lying and murder, stealing and adultery; they break all bounds, and bloodshed follows bloodshed" (Hos. 4:1-2).

In these verses, God's case against Israel starts with their lack of "faithfulness," "love," and "acknowledgment of God." Sounds pretty similar to Jesus' heart, soul, and mind admonition.

Only after God spends an entire sentence critiquing Israel for forgetting Him, for not loving Him as they should--only then does He rapid fire list in a second sentence all the other commandments that they have broken.

For a God who can skim over a hundred years of history with no comment, I think it's worth noting where He chooses to use His words--a whole sentence on one sin; another whole sentence on at least five more sins.

This is backwards from the way most people view sin--many will categorize the "biggie's" first--murder, stealing, adultery. But God?

In His economy, it's not what you haven't done wrong that counts like gold stars towards an eternal prize. Instead, He looks at what you haven't done right--and choosing to ignore God, to reject the saving blood of Jesus is the most important decision to get right...more important than choosing to not steal or murder.

No, ignoring God might not be a newsworthy enough crime for People or CNN, but it makes each and every one of us guilty sinners on a level playing field. And it makes us all equally in need of a merciful Savior to reconcile us to a holy God.


  1. It seems that I may be your partner-in-crime. I've ignored God before and it always gets me in trouble. But, I'm thankful that He is merciful, gracious, and forgiving.

  2. This could happen to anybody. Me. You. It seems to happen ever so quietly. Little more world here, little more there. Next thing you know God is tapping you on the shoulder. "Ahem. Forgetting Someone?"

    Thanks for the reminder, I needed that tap on the shoulder...

  3. Sometimes it feels like he's poking pretty hard rather than just tapping. :-)