Who gets Hurt the Most:
This past Sunday, we wrapped up our "True(ish)" series with our final statement: "As long as you don't hurt anyone..." This message unpacked the mistaken notion that our lives are independent of those around us, and that our decisions don't actually affect people around us. Society is so interconnected that it's hard to think of any choice you can make without causing a ripple effect in the world around you.
And this has a profound impact on this idea of "secret sin" because sin always hurts someone. Like any choice we make, sin has a ripple effect. The things you do privately affect the people around you whether you realize it or not.
But even if you somehow managed to live in such a way as to minimize the ripple effect of your sinful choices on the people around you- there's still a problem. Your sin may not be hurting others; but what about yourself? People are quick to dismiss the personal consequences, claiming as long as we aren't hurting others, it's okay. But let me point out a few flaws with that line of thinking:
First, is it ever acceptable to hurt ourselves? When we choose to engage in drug use, sex outside of marriage, cheating on our taxes, or even delayed adolescence and laziness, we end up leading a profoundly diminished life. There are so many people settling for less than what God has planned for them. We're hurting ourselves if nothing else.
Perhaps you are okay with that- willing to settle for less in life. But it's still not affecting only you. God's greatest commandment is to Love Him with all that you are. When you choose to be less, you aren't capable of your full potential in any area, including loving God. So when you choose to settle for less, God gets hurt.
Not only that, but others around you get hurt too. We are called not only to love God, but to love others as we love ourselves. When you fail to fully love yourself, it makes it impossible to love others as you should. So when you choose to settle in life, it really actually hurts everyone.
When you choose sex outside of marriage, it hurts your possible future spouse AND the future spouses of those you sleep with. When you choose to cheat on your taxes, it hurts every honest tax payer and becomes a drain on society. And you hurt your whole family, because God can't bless the dishonesty.
But more than anything, you're hurting you. And though you may not care, God cares. The people who love you care. You are loved by God and it breaks His heart when you choose less than all He has for you. So don't let yourself off the hook. Your sin hurts God, it hurts others and it hurts you. And whether you believe it or not, you matter. And because you matter, so do your choices.
So do us all a favor, and quit justifying your sin. It's leaving us all in a world of hurt.