I was getting married in six hours, standing in the middle of the “family planning” aisle of the grocery store.
I thumbed my finger where a ring would soon be. “Has the selection always been this vast?” I turned to my friend Clint. He’d flown in from California, and was wearing orange pants.
“I think there’s been some developments since the last time we had sex,” he answered. “How do you even use this? It doesn’t seem pleasurable.”
A gray-haired woman pushing a shopping cart full of cat food made her slow way around us, attempting to not make eye contact.
“I’m getting married today,” I dutifully informed everyone within a three aisle radius.
“Maybe we should pretend to be shopping for something else one aisle over?”
I agreed. We moved to the next aisle, and stood around with our hands in our pockets pretending to be in an important decision over Playtex or MaxiPad.
“How is this better?” I asked. I was nervous. I felt guilty. It may have been perfectly acceptable by Christianity and society’s standards to be having sex later that evening, but I was letting my past mistakes bring shame to something beautiful and intimate that hadn’t even happened yet.
I’d given a weight to my sin it didn’t deserve.
I thought about buying a bunch of crap I didn’t really need. Chapstick, potato chips, and microwave dinners. At checkout I would say, “Oh, wow, how did THOSE end up in there? Oh well, I might as well buy them. You know. Just in case.”
“Why does it feel like we’re doing something wrong?” Clint laughed. “I feel dirty in this aisle.”
I thought about the times I stood in that aisle as a single man, facing the reality that I planned to have sex outside of marriage. I knew it wasn’t right, but I didn’t exactly know why it was wrong. I had to make that purchase. I needed protection if temptation was too much to handle. Talk about a half-assed commitment. I thought about the times I sat at my computer knowing I was going to watch pornography. I thought about the times I’d been caught in a lie and lied again to get out. I thought about how my desire to be the best and believing I was better than my classmates lead me to drop out of college.
At the time, I didn’t see the problem or the consequences of that kind of behavior. I was empty. I wanted to feel love. I needed to be filled. And I intended to get it the easiest way I knew how. I simply didn’t want to submit to the way I’d been taught. Which is exactly what sin is. A refusal to submit. We are born rebellious. Prideful. We are born with a shallow knowledge of our sin that keeps us from the Kingdom.
We give sin more weight in our lives than it actually has. We’ve turned sin into a living, breathing entity with the ability to choke the life out of us.
As a result, we have become more afraid of sin than we are of God. We have given sin more power over our life than it deserves. And THAT is the most dangerous place to be. So afraid that you MIGHT screw up, you tediously follow the rules. That’s religion. That’s not a relationship. You’ll end up missing out on God’s redemption.
We are all in need of a Savior. Spending your life concerned with the rules and how good you are doing leads to pride. And pride is the origin of sin.
God lets us stand in the aisle and decide, I’m going to buy “this” because I want to do “that.”
Eve stood in the garden and decided, I’m going to eat “this” because I want to feel “that.”
We have been given free will to make these kinds of choices. To log onto our computers and view pornography whenever we want. To walk out of the restaurant instead of paying our tab. To lie instead of coming forward with the truth.
As nails were driven through Christ’s hands, he called out, “Forgive them Father, for they know not what they do.”
Every time you decide to do something other than the way God intended, that’s pride getting in the way. But God is still going to love you all the way through it.
He will never leave you or forsake you.
Maybe sin is God’s way of saying, “See how empty that is? Now let ME fill you.”
We have our desires set on the ways of this world. We are desperate for the world’s approval. We are desperate to be accepted by what is set to expire.
Christ sacrificed himself because he knew you were going to make that choice.
Without experiencing how empty something is first, we may never understand the absolute fullness of God’s love for us. The fullness of His plans for us.
This is not a free pass to sin. Nor am I exempting the cost of sin. I violate the heart and Kingdom of God day after day. Sin is an attitude. It’s the moment we decide we want to take control of our lives. And I have a very hard time giving up control.
But the more we walk with Christ, the more control we surrender, the less we sin.
We’ve been empty long enough.
© Copyright October 2011 || Make It MAD
Follow me on Twitter: @maxdubinsky