As a child, I was fascinated with fairy tales. My wild imagination eagerly soaked up those rich tales of magic and adventure. There was one fairy tale, however, that made me frustrated and uncomfortable, The Emperor’s New Clothes by Hans Christian Anderson. It was so incredibly frustrating to me how so many people, longing to be seen as wise, would willingly, blind themselves to common sense. The townspeople, the palace court, even the king himself, were fully entangled in the lies of that tricky tailor who didn’t care about anything but making money. Oh that moment of sweet clarity when one child cries out, “The king is naked!” The crowd pauses, takes a step back, and allows the simple truth to ring out. The pretense is gone, the false charm is broken, and common sense wins again.
As an adult living in a world full of sin, I often feel like that child declaring that the king is naked. Sadly, the worldly crowd delights in the frenzied whirlwind of chaos and sin, drowning out common sense. Somehow abortion isn’t murder, it’s health care for the mother. Somehow science is thrown out the window and instead of two genders, people declare we now have a smorgasbord of more than 50 genders from which to pick and choose! Our modern world teaches that the only existing sin is opposition to whatever debauchery our fellow humans choose to flaunt. The world has thrown up this insane forest of lies, insanity, twisted logic and corruption. This forest is then fertilized with hatred and mockery, and woe to the person who tries to navigate this forest in search of truth and logic. I believe it’s time to take a step back, waaaay back, away from the specific issues, and get to the root of all the problems. Let’s take a basic look at that ugly word: sin.
In the beginning, God created everything and called it good. Man originally had one rule: don’t eat from one tree. Adam and Eve could eat abundantly from every other tree, but that one tree was to be left alone. Instead of remaining at peace in their abundance, Adam and Eve allowed their desire for the forbidden fruit to become entwined with the lies of the serpent, and paradise was lost. One little rule, that’s all they had. Today we tend to rate sins on a scale of “not so bad” to “hideously, horrendously awful”. I mean honestly, what would you rate eating a fruit? Would you equate eating one fruit with murder, or would it be more like a “little white lie”? Oh, but God saw it differently! God knows that sin is corruption of something good, and our loving Creator wanted to shield us from corruption. God warned Adam in Genesis 2:17 that the penalty for eating one little fruit would be death. DEATH!!! Today we suffer the same penalty for our sin, death! No matter the pedigree humans give the sin, it all leads to death.
Ahh, but we have a merciful Creator who took pity on His weak-willed creations and altered that death sentence. He would allow man to place his death sentence upon an animal, thus sacrifice was born. It seems logical to me that the very skins God used to clothe Adam and Eve came from the first animals sacrificed in their place for their sin. How awful to daily clothe yourself in the very reminders of the life lost for one “little” sin.
There was, however, one problem with sacrificing an animal in the place of a human. God created man in HIS image, how can the death of an animal truly take the place of the death of a human? Here’s where Jesus came in! The Great I Am, taking human form, came down to live with the beings he helped create, and allowed them to cruelly and viciously torture and murder Him. All because of one little fruit. One. Little. Fruit. And it is only when we are “clothed with Christ” through baptism that God recognizes His Son’s perfect, ultimate sacrifice for sins WE committed and forgives us. (Galatians 3:27) Is there a small sin? Would you call a sin that killed the Son of God small? Neither would I.
So God calls us to live moral lives. Don’t kill people. Don’t take what doesn’t belong to you.Sex is only allowed within the bond of marriage between a man and a woman. Why do you think God made these rules? Was He just trying to ruin our fun? Imagine living in a world where everyone is a Christian and all couples wait until marriage to have sex. Imagine a world where all couples took their marriage vows with proper reverence and utter commitment. Imagine all children being raised in a loving Christian home, such as they deserve. What a beautiful picture! Alas, we live in a world that loves to distort this beautiful picture. In fact, the world not only corrupts God’s plan, it then tries to turn it into a jigsaw puzzle of choices. “I’ll take this piece with the daddy out and replace it with another mommy.” “Hmm, this puzzle piece with the baby I willingly created makes my puzzle look too busy, so let’s throw that piece away”. In the end, none of the pieces fit together, there are gaping holes, and it’s all a giant higgledy-piggledy mess. Then the world wants to hold that chaotic jumble up and have everyone applaud them for doing such a great job! Every puzzle has a puzzle maker, and that maker has one design for that puzzle. Likewise, God has a plan for us, reasons for His rules, and no matter how loud the world wants to shout that His rules don’t matter, they will ALWAYS matter!
So how does this fit in with my earlier analogy of the Emperor’s New Clothes? We need to see all sin as evil. We can’t shun the teen girl who just found out she was pregnant while indulging the gossip who is tsk-tsking about the situation. We can’t decry the homosexual agenda while quietly excusing rampant fornication disguised as a “love story”. And we can’t bemoan the evils of abortion while we hold on to hatred in our own heart toward someone who wronged us. It’s time to call out all sin for what it is, to strip away the twists and lies of the devil and hate it all. When we don’t, we run the risk of being a hypocrite in the eyes of the world. Yet with our hatred of sin, we do need to remember to love the sinner, because without love, we become a “noisy gong or clanging cymbal”, and no one wants to listen to that. (I Corinthians 13:1)
If our merciful God sees death as a just penalty for eating a piece of fruit, then we need to understand just how awful every single sin is to Him. We need to see sin through the eyes of God, and only then will we realize just how naked we all really are. It’s time to let truth ring out and for common sense to win once more. I think our world just might be hungry for a little common sense coupled with some “truth in love”! (Ephesians 4:15)