Frightened of Sin?

Halloween is this week: Television stations air scary movies. Businesses decorate with cobwebs and spiders. Kids dress up like ghoulish monsters.

When I asked my family what frightens them, my husband responded: “You.”

I don’t blame him.

Last week, our family was working in the yard. I was in good spirits, shoveling gravel with my teenage son and my daughter’s boyfriend. Then I turned around and saw my twelve-year-old Japanese maple lying on the ground. My husband and daughter thought the tree was too close to our house and chopped it down.

Steam didn’t come from my ears, but profanity spewed from my lips. My face didn’t turn red, but if looks could have killed…

Throwing my rake on the ground, I blasted them with my words like bullets from a Tommy gun, and ran away in tears.

Even Jonah from the Bible could not have been more outraged when God appointed a worm and wind to destroy his shade tree.

Why the public confession?

Because a butchered tree may be upsetting, but it does not excuse an ungodly response.

My family apologized profusely; they had no idea. And before the sun set on my anger, I asked them to forgive me. We laugh about my crazed behavior.

But sin is no laughing matter.

It frightens me to know sin lingers in my heart, waiting for an opportune moment to rear itself.

“For from the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, all sexual immorality, theft, lying, and slander” (Matthew 15:19).

Isn’t it easy to walk in the Spirit instead of the flesh when there’s no agitation? But add a pinch of stress, a pound of unmet expectations, or a felled tree and suddenly I’m staring at my flawed humanity.

My hope: “If we confess our sin, God is faithful and willing to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”  (1 John 1:9).

My consolation: “Karen (my emphasis) was washed clean (purified by a complete atonement for sin and made free from the guilt of sin), and Karen was consecrated (set apart, hallowed), and Karen was justified (pronounced righteous, by trusting) in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Holy Spirit of our God.” (1 Corinthians 6:11, Amplified version).

My assurance: God uses even this…a felled Japanese maple…to teach me I’m a work in progress, relying on His grace.