Friday, August 15, 2008

Which is Worse?

The TV show MASH had an interesting theological discussion. Major Frank Burns stole a chrome plated revolver from the gun locker and let another take the blame. His mistress, Major Margret Hoolahan (sp?) caught him with it. He denied stealing it saying his gun was a family heirloom. She forced him into admitting the truth and was more concerned about his lying to her than his stealing from a stranger. To diminish his guilt towards her he insisted that stealing was indeed worse than lying. He argued from the position of expertise. He had done both so he should know which was worse. I understand both of their logics. The sin that directly impacts me is always worse than the sin that impacts you.
This is another of those missteps we take in our relationship with God. To be a good legalist, you have to have a fairly prioritized list for sin. Some sins might really make God mad and lesser blemishes on your list will get a wink and ignored. There is also the secret stuff we just hide away in that special kitchen drawer of our hearts we don’t ever deal with it. As a professional sin fighter I am expected to deal with some folks caught up in some sort of sin. This week I have been expected to deal with several issues of sin and to hand out some measure of commensurate justice. Evidently I am supposed to rank sin to justify some form of discipline. Help me out here. Rank these in order of which deserves the strongest rebuke (sin fighters don’t spank unless they have the title mom and then only under extenuating circumstances):
Misplaced passion of several kinds
Malicious talk
Willful stupidity
Unforgiving spirit
There is a specific problem associated with each of these problems that I am responsible to deal with this week. After I see your ranking I still have to adjust for age, experience, knowledge, ability, intent of the heart (as if I can know it), degree of damage to others, position, and if I am smart, political influence. On second thought, don’t bother to rank the sins, it won’t help anyway. It is impossible. That still leaves me with the problem of what to do because something must be done because someone said so or will say so because we all know that we just can’t let people sin and get away with it; we gotta nip it in the bud! (to late, it has already taken root, but I am still supposed to pretend that I can be a bud nippers). Sin fighting is hard work but at least it is steady. It is one of the few growth industries around.
Try as I may, I cannot rank sin with any intelligence. I guess I will just settle for Jesus’ scoring system. Instead of ranking sin, he ranked forgiveness. The fact is that although natural consequences are different, sin is sin and it is all forgiven on the cross. NOTHING separates me from the love of Christ, Paul declares. We believe that, but we sure don’t practice it.


Doni Brinkman said...

LOL. Wondering which one on your list you are supposed to talk to me about hee hee? Hear hear to your whole post. Definitely appreciated this one this week.

heidi jo said...

like you, i hope to live it more each day.