It’s so easy to push aside seemingly minor sins in frustration, questioning whether they’re really that big of a deal, and ultimately, whether God even cares about your sins to begin with. Or we take the opposite approach as our frustration from continually sinning increases and lash out at God, feeling like He’s put us in an unfair position with unrealistic expectations and begin distancing ourselves from Him into unbelief.
Examining Why God Cares About Sin
We can be lost before we even begin examining why God cares about sin if we don’t get the main point right: God is less concerned with the sin itself and more concerned about the effects of that sin.
We often point to an event or action in time as the sole source of destruction. For example, if a spouse cheats, the specific act of the affair will continue to be brought up as the reason the faithful husband or wife feels an enormous amount of resentment, anger, jealousy, and heartache when that is not exactly entirely true.
The true pain and anger comes from the effect of the sin which is eroded trust. The faithful spouse now thinks / feels things such as: I can no longer trust you. Do I even know you? Is he/her better than me? I’m not good enough for you.
The Effects and Cost of Sin
Just as we dwell on the affair instead of what that affair caused, we dwell far too much on the sin against God instead of focusing on the effects and cost of our sin. When Adam and Eve eat the fruit from the Tree of Knowledge they suddenly realize they are naked. Then, they hide in shame when God calls to them.
To be naked is to feel exposed, embarrassed, and vulnerable. This is the reason that sin–big or small–is such a big deal to God and why He cares so much about sin. It’s also the reason we shouldn’t ever excuse or brush it to the side as a minor thing. Why? Because every time we sin, it makes us naked, scared, and causes us to hide in shame when God calls out to us.
Does swearing, overeating, lusting, etc. matter much to God in the big scope of things? Probably not. But do the effects of those sins matter to God? You bet. Because God knows–just as you and I know–that the effects of those sins cause distance and destroys intimacy between God and us; so much so that it took Jesus dying on the Cross to bridge the gap.
How to Deal With A Sin That You’re Struggling With
I have found that it is much easier to deal with a sin I’m repetitively falling prey to by asking myself what the cost of the sin will be rather than trying to stop thinking about the short-term pleasure of the act and white-knuckling myself into submission. And while sin does anger God, I personally don’t find the image of a father figure that’s going to be angry or punish me if I mess up helpful. When I speak of the effects of sin I’m mainly focused on what I believe God cares about the most…our relationship with Him.
The cost of any sin is me hiding from God. Me being afraid to call out to Him because I know I’ve messed up AGAIN. Me avoiding any encounter with God because I don’t want to hear, “Have you eaten of the tree which I commanded you not to eat?” Genesis 3:11
But what about grace? Just because God forgives you, doesn’t mean there isn’t still a cost. Typically, we think of Christ taking this cost upon himself. But this is merely the “forgiveness” aspect of the sin.
A Personal Relationship with God
Because we serve a God who wants a personal relationship with each of us, there are relational problems and consequences just as in any relationship. You can’t “sin” in any relationship without it causing distance between two people. Just because a husband and wife forgive each other after a big fight doesn’t mean that everything is all back to normal. The same is true with God. Our sin is forgiven as soon as we ask for forgiveness; however, the distance we stepped away from God isn’t made up instantly. We must walk back to God until we get back to the same level of intimacy we were at previously.
For me, this is the cost I speak of. It is a cost of intimacy with God. And I can’t afford that cost in my life. I’m too broken, too sick, too in need of repair and healing to cut off the one Doctor I know I need.
I don’t think I’ll ever quit desiring to lust. I don’t even know if I’ll ever fully understand why it’s wrong or why God made us with eyes so prone to wander. And if I stay focused on the lust, it’s easy to begin getting frustrated or mad at God, feeling like I have been asked to do an impossible task.
Deep Love and Intimacy With God
But once I switch my thinking away from the act itself and onto the effects of the act (a decrease in intimacy with God), resisting temptation becomes much easier. I can love lusting or I can love God. I can’t love both. Each time I choose lust it creates a desire to run from God. But every time I choose God, it creates a desire to flee from lust. Not in some instantaneous way where I suddenly hate looking at the opposite sex but where I now long for God even more.
The more we want God, the less sin becomes a list of rules we want to rebel against, and the Commandments’ “can’t dos” are transformed into directions that were designed so we can dive deeper and deeper into the mystery and love of God.
My current collections of poetry, all available on Amazon, all written by me, Justin Farley. A Voice in the Wilderness is a chapbook of Christian Poetry, written about the joys, doubts, struggles, and sorrows of the Christian life. Nature’s Bounty is a collection of nature poetry celebrating my love for the outdoors. And Thorns of Love is the first book of three in a series of poems about love, this one being sad, breakup poems.
I write to reach the hearts of the searching, the suffering, the still fighting. I write to soothe my soul and hopefully to soothe yours too. I write to celebrate and attempt to put words to the beauty of life. Here are my published books on Amazon. More to come. A huge, humble thank you to anyone who supports my work.