Following up on last week’s post about being guided by the Holy Spirit – even when we are ignorant of the Bible – this week I’m sharing a personal story about that same guidance. I posted this when I first started blogging, but I think it’s worth repeating, although I’ve done some minor editing.
* * *
When I was born again, not only did I receive forgiveness and the Holy Spirit, God provided me with a pair of wide-angle singlasses. The whole world looked a lot different when I wore them. Everything I encountered was colored black or white, sin or not sin.
I was 39 years old when this happened, so I had a lot of habits that looked black. I learned early on that the only course of action that gave me any peace went like this:
- see sin
- confess sin
- stop sin
- repeat as necessary
I got good at repetition.
As time went on, I discovered that these glasses also highlighted the sin that was around me. It didn’t matter if it was a song on the radio, a book I was reading, a TV show, or a comment from a friend. The singlasses screamed “SIN!” … so I changed the radio station, shut off the TV, or tossed the book.
It was a little trickier when it was a friend. They didn’t seem to appreciate my new-found knowledge, provided by my ever-present singlasses and my four-step plan. In fact, most of them got seriously ticked off. So I had to develop a new course of action for other people’s sin. It went something like this:
- see sin
- bite tongue
- pray that God will give them their own singlasses
There are exceptions to step 2, of course. At one extreme, there are times when we really do need to speak up: a friend wants our input, or a child is being beaten. At the other end of the spectrum, there are times when we just need to walk away from those who cling to their sin: “come out of her, my people” and all that. (I think I hear another post coming on this topic.)
Deciding which of these courses to follow, of course, is the tough part. That’s where step four comes in:
But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God,
who gives to all men generously and without reproach,
and it will be given to him.