The ping-pong ball is still bouncing around in there.
The Lord descended in the cloud and stood there with him as he called upon the name of the Lord. Then the Lord passed by in front of him and proclaimed, “The Lord, the Lord God, compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in lovingkindness and truth; who keeps lovingkindness for thousands, who forgives iniquity, transgression and sin; yet He will by no means leave the guilty unpunished, visiting the iniquity of fathers on the children and on the grandchildren to the third and fourth generations.” Exodus 34: 5-7
I hope you remember last weeks devotional, when we touched on the progression of evil…from sin( an offense)…to transgression (rebellion)…to iniquity (perversity). I’ve never really thought about evil in layers before…in ‘shades of darkness’. As I pondered on that…The Lord blessed me with an analogy which helped me get a better grasp. Often times, the Good Lord uses my wife and Christian brothers to communicate to me. This particular time, pieces of conversations I’d had with some of my brothers…snapped into ‘divine relevance’ after a fantastic discussion with my wife.
Analogy: If my wife comes home from the supermarket and carries 100lbs of meat into the house…down into the basement…and puts them in the freezer. This takes her multiple trips…every trip right by my big ‘ole recliner…and I (honestly) don’t notice because the football game is in the 4th quarter…and she doesn’t ask me to help…that’s SIN. Now…if the scenario is the same except…she asks me to help and I refuse…for whatever reason, or excuse, I feel justifies my position…that’s TRANSGRESSION. Now…if I start to ridicule her struggle in carrying all of that meat, as she walks by, and encourage my kids to make fun of her as well…that’s INIQUITY.
Even if our wives don’t ask, we should get up to help with the groceries. The excuse, “She didn’t ask.”…is no excuse…it only shows our ignorance and laziness. Their are numerous passages on how we should love our wives…oblivious to her needs???…is not one of them. Sin is primarily associated with the soul and mind. Where is our mind in this scenario…? Our mind is on the game. We have given offense to the woman God has paired us with, even if it was unknowingly. This is SIN.
When she asks, and we blow her off. Coming up with some long winded “whatever” excuse…we are actively rebelling against our duty as a husband. We have crossed the line from ‘unknowingly’ to ‘knowingly’ violating our marriage vows taken before God. Transgression is primarily associated with body and actions. In this scenario, our heartbeat quickens, our body temperature rises, because our wife asked for help and we don’t want to get up off our butt. We decide to offer some sort of excuse or explanation “why” we can’t help. This is TRANSGRESSION.
After she asks for help…if our response is to attack, to ridicule, to belittle…then we have moved into the realm of perversity and moral evil. Responding in this manner teaches the children lessons in love and relationship that our contrary to God’s word. Iniquity is primarily associated with our spirit and attitude. If we fall down to this level…we have become twisted and bent. This is INIQUITY.
If evil was a ‘black rose’…sin is the flower…transgression is the stalk…and iniquity is the root.
The ping-pong balls have started too hum and vibrate as my fingers find this passage in Exodus 20: 5-6, “You shall not worship them or serve them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children, on the third and the fourth generations of those who hate Me, but showing lovingkindness to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments.”
This passage and the passage from Exodus 34 talk about the iniquity of the fathers being visited, or transferred, to the descendants out to three or four generations. Those passages used to make me feel squeamish…used to make me feel all yucky inside…because I interpreted that as God ‘cursing’ families. Maybe I had seen one to many Abbott and Costello movies involving the ‘Curse of the Mummy’…but I had a hard time understanding the punishment. Now…I see that a little different. Now…I see God working within the parameters of human behavior and development. Now…I see, or hear, God saying…”If you choose to live in perversion and moral evil, these bad habits will be passed on to your kids and they will, in turn, live this way because you have taught them too. A cycle of evil will form which will enslave and trap generations of one family.”
Ask our public school teachers whom have taught in one district for a long time if they have seen examples of one family…over a generation…trapped in a lifestyle of evil? The ping-pong ball has slowed down considerably as my fingers find this passage in Matthew 6: 22-23, “The eye is the lamp of the body; so then if your eye is clear, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light that is in you is darkness, how great is the darkness!”
In this passage, the eye represents the gate by which all outside influence enters. This gate does not filter information, it only lets it enter. If the filtering process (think wisdom and discernment) is disabled, or never allowed to develop, the morality of the individual will be twisted and distorted. Or, as the passage says, “your whole body will be full of darkness“. But…look what else Jesus says in this passage, “If then the light that is in you is darkness, how great is the darkness!” I believe that Jesus is talking about iniquity here…when the TRUTH is replaced with a false truth…the light inside of us is a false light…but, we still draw our moral observations and conclusions from this false light…thus…how great is the shade of darkness inside of us. In other words, if the source of our moral conviction is flawed, then every decision we make is flawed with ‘shades of darkness’…the stains of evil.
I get that…if our source is tainted, then we are tainted. The ping-pong ball has started to pick up speed again because my mind has just focused on a common question about alternative lifestyles.
“How can we blame them when they were born that way? How can their natural disposition toward sexual orientation condemn them in the eyes of the Lord?”
Good question…remember, “Nothing happens with a dull sword”…sharpen yours today.