All the Little, Normal, Acceptable Sins
People will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. 2 Timothy 3:2-5
While using drugs, I observed those who handled the same stressors I did without using drugs and I just didn’t understand how they did it. Over time, I came to be so dependent on my pills to relax and sleep, that I simply couldn’t imagine living without them. My drug use became normal to me. But I wasn’t normal. I thought others were weird for not needing drugs, but they weren’t aberrant. I was. I grew to accept something as normal, that most definitely wasn’t normal or healthy.
This seems to be the situation Paul described in today’s passage. In it, he described the eventual decay of the church. He said that one day, people will pretend to be godly, but will accept as normal that which is profoundly destructive. What kind of terrible sins will these so-called Christians be guilty of? Paul didn’t describe rapists and murderers. Rather, he described those who are prideful, greedy, entitled, selfish, gluttonous and those who follow their own appetites above all. Unfortunately, Paul described us.
The temptation for me is to look back at my drug addiction and feel like I’ve but it all figured out now. I used to engage in terrible, destructive behavior, but now I’m living exactly like I should. Thank God I’m not like that sinner anymore. I’ll not be made perfect in this life though. I’ll always have some struggle on which I’m supposed to be working every day. The danger is that I just begin to accept my little self-destructive behaviors as normal because I’m not using drugs now.
I think a lot of us are here. No, we’re not guilty of murder. No, we don’t used drugs or rob banks. Yes, we go to church on Sundays. And so, we feel like we’ve got our faith nailed down. We don’t really need to change, grow, or abandon any self-destructive behaviors. We may look godly, but we’re still indulging in the little, normal, acceptable sins which Paul described in today’s passage.
This is a continual struggle for the Christian, to look at our own lives, rooting out all those little things that add up to big things because they keep us from experiencing the life for which we were made. Greed, selfishness, pride, and gluttony may be normal and acceptable in the church, but they are most definitely not meant to be a routine part of the healthy Christian life.