The older I get, the more accustomed to the ways of the man I become, the less I am surprised I am by hearing of another marriage, another woman, another man who has come undone. While perhaps not as shocking as sin may have once been, it is still just as tragic and as sad - if not even more so as I see the ripple effect had on people even seemingly far removed. In my early twenties, hearing of people’s tangled webs and deceit was more thrilling, disgusting and sensational. “How could she?” “What on earth led to that?” There was a little more black and white, much more self-righteousness and thick shroud of naiveté.
As I’ve matured, I’ve come to see sin not just as an event but as an unwinding of sorts. That deep within each of us, there is always the potential to commit the most heinous of crimes - the most grievous of actions - and we never start pulling the thread with the end of the spool in mind. James1:14-15 says, “But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.”
The biggest lie that we can tell ourselves is that our sin occurs in a void – that our actions, the things we let our eyes search for, even just our thoughts will affect no one but ourselves. I love this quote from “All the King’s Men” by Robert Penn Warren:
Cass Mastern lived for a few years and in that time he learned that the world is all of one piece. He learned that the world is like an enormous spider web and if you touch it, however lightly, at any point, the vibration ripples to the remotest perimeter and the drowsy spider feels the tingle and is drowsy no more but springs out to fling the gossamer coils about you who have touched the web and then inject the black, numbing poison under your hide. It does not matter whether or not you meant to brush the web of things. Your happy foot or your gay wing may have brushed it ever so lightly, but what happens always happens and there is the spider, bearded black and with all his great faceted eyes glittering like mirrors in the sun, or like God's eye, and the fangs dripping.
There is no void in which each of our souls resides. We, as followers of Jesus, are the body of Christ. When there is a serious injury to a part of the body, or when there is a cancer growing, the gangrene and the poison that set in bring death to everyone. To think we can somehow not allow other people’s actions and darkness affect us is not only naive, it is selfish. We must desperately cry out for Jesus’s healing blood to not cover just our own sins but the sins of our brothers and sisters. We mourn with them over the brokenness and we rejoice with them over His salvation. They didn’t dip their toe in the dirt. They dive bombed a puddle of mud and sent waves of muck flying, splattering us all.
And then, we have to stop minimizing and justifying our own darkness. There’s no such thing as just an innocent curiosity. That five minutes spent looking at an ex’s online photo album is five inches pulled from that spool of thread. It’s five minutes spent undoing our marriage. It’s five minutes making ourselves more apt to take the next step towards infidelity.
It’s five minutes that confessed and turned away from, Jesus can and will redeem. There is nothing we do that Jesus cannot undo. He bares it all on the cross. When he enters in, all the darkness withers away. “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” – John 1:5
Jesus is the fulfillment of Isaiah 42:6-7 which says,
“I am the LORD; I have called you in righteousness;
I will take you by the hand and keep you;
I will give you as a covenant for the people,
a light for the nations,
to open the eyes that are blind,
to bring out the prisoners from the dungeon,
from the prison those who sit in darkness."