My wife and I were zipping down the interstate one day when we saw this long cloud of thick, blue smoke ahead of us. As we got closer, we saw that it was belching out of the smoke stack of a semi. The smoke was so heavy you could hardly see as you passed it. It was a good time to hold your breath. These two guys were driving along laughing, seemingly oblivious to the smoke, and the smell that they were spreading down the interstate. Then I noticed some black spots on our windshield, and of course I did what would be instinctive to do, I started to reach for my windshield wipers, and man I'm glad I didn't. I looked at the car in front of me and saw he had turned his on, and all he had done was streak oil all over the window of his car; he could bearly see. That driver probably thought the smoke was just his problem. Hey, it was a problem for everyone who got close to him!
Well I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I'd like to have A Word With You today about "Pollution Leaves A Trail."
Our word for today from the Word of God comes from the book of Jonah 1:3, "But Jonah ran away from the Lord and headed for Tarshish." God had given him orders, and he didn't want to follow them. He got on a ship "and sailed for Tarshish to flee from the Lord." Verses 4-10 say, "The Lord sent a great wind on the sea, and such a violent storm arose that the ship threatened to break up. All the sailors were afraid and each cried out to his own God. And they threw the cargo into the sea to lighten the ship. But Jonah had gone below the deck, where he lay down and fell into a deep sleep. The Captain went to him and said, 'How can you sleep? Get up and call on your God! Maybe He will take notice of us, and we will not perish.' Then the sailors said to each other, 'Come, let us cast lots to find out who is responsible for this calamity.' They cast lots and the lot fell on Jonah. So they asked him, 'Tell us, who is responsible for making all this trouble for us? What do you do? Where do you come from? What is your country? From what people are you?' He answered, 'I'm a Hebrew, and I worship the Lord...' This terrified them and they asked, 'What have you done?' (They knew he was running away from the Lord, because he'd already told them so.)" Jonah had disobeyed God.
If he thinks like most of us he's probably saying, "Hey, look I disobeyed God, I may be sinning but it's not hurting anybody." I suppose my smoky trucker could have said that. "Hey, I've got a problem, I know that, but it's not hurting anyone else." He was wrong if he thought that, and so was Jonah. Everyone around Jonah was suffering. Not because of their sin, but because of his.
Modern morality says, "It's okay as long as it doesn't hurt anybody." Hey, there is no such thing. I've hugged the parents who were sobbing over their son or daughter's life. While you're doing your thing, you're breaking the heart of the people you love the most. I've been with a son or daughter who, watching their parents, walk away from the very truths they taught them - and they are crushed! No man is an island. You're having sex premaritally while your hurting your future partner and their future partner. Your choices affect the family name. They affect your reputation when you flirt with another man or woman...you're hurting your husband, your hurting your wife. Even if they don't know.
While you're on your detour, unbelievers are watching you and they're deciding about Jesus. Sin dislocates relationships. It twists everything around it. It makes a statement about your family, your Lord, and then the storm comes, and it hurts innocent people. You can't sin in a vacuum. You leave an ugly trail of wounded people whenever you live outside of Christ's boundaries. Are you? Well, there is pollution spattering everyone around you when you leave the will of God. You're hurting yourself, you're hurting them, and most of all you're hurting a Savior who loves you very, very much. He died for that sin. He weeps over your sin. Isn't it time to end the hurt, and do it God's way? The pollution has already left a long enough trail.