Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death. (James 1:15)
Sin is the most deadly force on the planet. It is the cause of indescribable suffering for innumerable people, yet for some reason we are often confused regarding its dangers. We think that God is trying to keep us from experiencing the fun things in life by putting restrictions on us. People mistakenly think that sinful things are “not that bad” and don’t really hurt anyone. This idea comes from a wrong view of sin and its nature.
Years ago I was sitting in the back of a room filled with junior high students and I heard the phrase, “Sin is not bad because God said don’t do it, sin is bad and so God said don’t do it.” Allow me to illustrate. There is nothing immoral about chewing gum. Repeatedly chomping gum up and down inside your jaw is not wrong or a sinful action. However, I once worked at a school that had a policy that forbade chewing gum. The janitorial staff had become tired of cleaning gum off the desks, carpet, concrete and every other surface students happened to stick it. Because of the rule it became an offense.
Often we think of sin like that. We think there is nothing wrong with sin except that God forbids it. This attitude leads to compromise, and compromise leads to unnecessary suffering. The fact is sin destroys lives. That is sin’s nature. When a person chooses to ignore the warnings of God and pursues a lifestyle that God forbids, it will lead to his or her demise and will spread like cancer, impacting the lives of those closest to them.
Empirical data proves this to be true. Those who live for pleasure will quickly find that pleasure does not satisfy. If their pursuit of pleasure leads them to the use of controlled substances, it will not be long before they find that the substances control them. I cannot tell you how many families have been in my office weeping over a husband or a child whose life is being destroyed by drugs or alcohol. If their pursuit leads them into promiscuity, they will often leave shattered lives in their wake. How many homes have been destroyed by the promiscuity of one man or woman? How many more children need to grow up without a father because a person pursues a life of pleasure without regard to those who are impacted by his or her decisions.
Sin destroys and leads to death. That is what it does. It is not capable of accomplishing anything else. If we want to live a blessed life, it will not be found by compromising with sin but by allowing the power of God to remove it from us.