The Effects of Sin

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Friday, January 25, 2019 0 comments

by Charlie Wolcott

“It’s my choice what I do. It only affects me.”

This is one of the most common excuses made to defend sin and likely one of the most oblivious statements to reality that one could make. There is absolutely nothing you can do which does not somehow affect someone else down the road, if not immediately. This has been a deadly trap by the enemy, and for many it has worked well.

One of the clearest Biblical examples of someone who very likely thought what he did would have no effect on anyone else would be Achan. The entire story is found in Joshua 6-7, but to give the context, Israel was preparing to face their first battle after crossing the Jordan River. Jericho was not the only fortified city of the area, but it was perhaps the biggest and most powerful. Walls were so thick that chariots could race on top. God gave Israel a most unique strategy to conquer the city: march around the city, then after marching the prescribed times, shout, then the walls would fall.

However, there was one special command: Take absolutely no spoils from the city. They all were to belong to God. No women, no children, no animals, no money, nor clothing, no goods, nothing. Everything was to be utterly destroyed. One man did not obey: Achan. He saw some clothes, some silver, and some gold and he took them. He very likely thought, “No one is going to see it and no one is going to be bothered with it.” He hid the goods in his tent and went about his business.

Then the consequences came. Joshua sent out a small raid force to take out the tiny town of Ai and they got wiped out, losing 36 men and the other nations gained some courage. Joshua wept and pleaded before the Lord wondering why, and God told him there was sin in the camp and to deal with it. God began to reveal who did the deed by narrowing it down from tribe, to clan, to family, and then finally to Achan. The nation lost a battle because of one man’s sin. But that wasn’t it. Achan thought he might get a slap on the wrist with confessing the sin, but instead he and his entire family were stoned to death, and all he had was burned. One man who thought it only would affect him cost 36 men, a loss in battle, and an entire family their possessions and their lives.

Some will say that is an extreme example, but it is a clear example of how devastating such thoughts can be. The number one sin that people use this excuse for today is pornography. They think that watching other people perform sex acts, or even merely looking at naked or scantily clad women or men is something that only affects them. That is hogwash.

There are two major side effects of pornography. It affects those around you, and it directly affects those in the industry. Many articles have been written about the effects of porn on a person’s mind and how people truly are addicted to it like drugs. It poisons the mind and the person hooked on porn begins viewing others not as people but as meat. Wives, as they age, cannot compete with the digital women on a screen. Men who get their ‘arousing’ through digital viewing soon are unable to get aroused by the physical flesh. It destroys marriages, devalues women (or men or children, depending on what is watched), and like any drug, it always has to escalate in order to get the same high. It leads to darker and darker sex, BDSM, violence, and that’s without getting into doing the physical acts. It never satisfies, and like a starving beast, it never stops consuming.

The other danger is to those on the other side of the screen. While many adult porn sites have disclaimers that the participants are willing adults, that is not always true. Because there is such a high demand for the product, there is high demand to produce it. And because such acts are so devastating to the body, each person can only do it for so long before it literally kills them. So there is a high demand for newer and younger bodies. Sex trafficking is perhaps the biggest illegal businesses in the world. More money is made from this than drugs. Child pornography is also rampant. I read one article a while back which indicated that a large percent of child porn is produced by the victims themselves due to social media pressures. They take pictures of themselves and give it to a “private friend,” and said person shares said pictures to the dark web. This barely scratches the surface of what this evil entails, but it by no means affects just the viewer.

But pornography is not the only area I see this sin in: I also see it in many professing Christians who have no problems embracing false doctrines. When corrected they will often say, “It doesn’t affect my salvation.” It’s actually the same argument and the same line of reasoning. I don’t understand how anyone is fine with being a Christian and not living as God desires nor believing what He says. As a Christian, I hate being wrong about something regarding Him or in how my life doesn’t line up. I have a long way to go, but at the very least, I want to keep pointing towards that perfect standard, even if the only thing I can do is face towards it and fall flat on my face.

When a false teaching goes out, it affects how you relate to everyone, and it affects any you teach it to. Few are affected more than the next generation. Any time someone opens the door for false teachings even ever so slightly, the next generation following that teaching will take it and open it wider. Here is one example of how a false teaching can have devastating effects and it comes from the “Prosperity Gospel” or the ”Word of Faith” movement. My pastor told the story of how a couple in his church lost a child. A well-meaning couple who believed that false teaching came up to them and said, “If you had more faith, your child would not have died.” That false teaching devastated that grieving couple. Many people have been disillusioned or rejected the faith because someone embraced a false teaching, thinking it would not affect them, but then it destroys those around them.

No sin affects just you. Nothing you do merely affects you. Every decision you make, for good or ill, is going to affect someone else. Let me turn this post around as I wrap it up. While every sin you do or every false teaching you embrace affects someone else, so does every righteous deed. While every sin may have lasting effects to three or four generations, the righteous acts can have lasting effects for thousands. Is there an area of sin in our life have excused away? Let us deal with it and end the curse which will affect our children and all around us. Let us instead sow righteousness and then see how God will spread it around beyond our dreams.

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