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"Defend your clan, even with your life." - Warrior code, Warrior cats novel series

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Jun
3rd
2020

Sin affects others, not just ourselves · 3:39am June 3rd

In Chapter 7 of the book of Joshua, a soldier named Achan steals some of the treasures of Jericho. It had been commanded of Israel that they would either destroy with fire what they could or, if the material in question (such as gold or silver) could not be destroyed by fire, it would be given into God's treasury (6:18, 24). Achan stole a mantle (NIV translation says "robe"), 200 shekels of silver and a bar of gold (7:21), and hid them in his tent. Angered by this theft, God removed His protection from Israel, and at Ai, 36 Israelites were killed in a failed assault upon the city (7:4-5).

Joshua tore his clothes and prayed in despair to God (7:6-9). God told Joshua that Israel had disobeyed and stolen from Him, and that the whole community was cursed until the guilty party was found (7:10-12). Israel was to consecrate itself (v. 13) and then present themselves by tribes, clans, households, and individuals (v. 14-15). Achan was found out (v. 16-18) and confessed (v. 20-21). To Achan's credit, he didn't try to lie after being caught, but that did not remove the consequences, namely the failed attack upon Ai and his own punishment. He and his household were stoned and burned with fire (v. 25), and then Achan's body was covered with stones as a reminder of the incident (v. 26-27).

One might think that only Achan should be punished for his crime. It should be noted that it is not outside the realm of possibility that his family aided him in his theft and deception. Regardless, one point of this story is that sin goes beyond just ourselves; when we sin, it infects and affects others, too. In this case, it affected all of Israel, which was put under a curse until the guilty party was eliminated; soldiers died because Achan stole from God Himself, and the conquest of the land had to be delayed until the guilty party was found and punished, which included his family.

An alcoholic father who neglects or abuses his children can only expect them to grow up as bullies and addicts themselves. A mother who permits her children to do whatever they want instead of restraining them can expect them to grow up spoiled and undisciplined. Divorce tears families apart and creates "Cold War" mentalities between the parted spouses and the children who go with either parent. Parents who favor one child over the other(s) will likely lead to the other child(ren) feeling neglected or worse. A guy who does drugs is probably going to lead others into doing drugs too, until they likely get busted by the police or, worse, overdose. Corrupt government officials harm the country and lead to a loss of faith in law, order, and ideals among the people that they're responsible for. Someone who has no respect for the laws of the road may get themselves and others killed - or at least, badly injured - because they didn't care for the law. People who spend frivolously and wind up in debt because of it are affecting their entire families, potentially leading to the entire family unit becoming homeless. The amount of things that our sins can affect seem nearly endless, as are the consequences. Simply put, sin affects not just the person sinning, but the people around them as well.

It's easy to assign blame; we probably spend a good part of our childhoods trying to assign blame to other kids to prevent the consequences from falling upon ourselves. Sadly, this behavior often carries on into adulthood. Trying to excuse our sins by blaming others... hasn't worked, doesn't work, and will never work. And to be honest, it shouldn't work.

Sadly, we can't stop sinning entirely while we are in this life; even those who love God sin, in thoughts, words, and deeds. Paul would comment upon his inability to stop sinning (Romans 7:15-20), and even godly men like King David would sin (such as in the affair with Bathsheba [2 Samuel 11] and an illicit census [2 Samuel 24], along with lying numerous times [such as in 2 Samuel 21:2, 8, 12-15]). However, that doesn't mean that we should stop trying to stop sinning. Repentance means to turn from our sins, and the fact is that when we struggle against sin, its a good sign, as we are attempting to resist that which we know to be wrong.

Our faith, love, and trust in Christ Jesus to overcome all obstacles should be present at all times. We have to trust that God is infinitely greater than our failures, and that He is the one who makes us right with Himself through the death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus. His grace for those who love, accept and submit to Him is limitless. As He said Himself in Matthew 19:26, "With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible." This was said in the context of rich people having trouble entering the Kingdom of God, but I think it can apply to so much more; God has proven that He can overcome all things. Our sins are NEVER going to be okay, and we should NEVER, EVER think that God's grace gives us an excuse TO sin, but we have a God who rescues His children FROM sin.

May God keep and preserve and forgive us on our trek through this life, may seek Him and not the world, and may we love Him for who He is, not for what He does (not knocking on the things God does, I'm saying we should love Him BECAUSE He is God [John 6:26, including pulpit commentary at the bottom], not out of the hope of getting stuff out of it).

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