Thursday, November 29, 2012
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We were zipping down the Interstate, and we saw this long cloud of thick blue smoke ahead of us. When we got close, we saw that it was belching out of the smoke stack of this big old semi, and the smoke was so heavy you could hardly see as you passed it. In fact, it was a very good time to hold your breath. Now, as we passed him, I looked through the smoke into the cab, and I saw two men inside and they were just kind of laughing and they seemed oblivious to the smoke and the smell that they were spreading down the Interstate.
Now, I noticed after we passed that semi and that mountain of smoke, that there were little black spots all over our windshield. Now, I instinctively reached for my windshield wipers to get rid of the spots, and it was then that I saw the driver ahead of us who had turned his wipers on. His entire windshield was smeared with this thick, black substance. Whew! Glad I didn't turned my wipers on.
We stopped for lunch a few minutes later and when I got out I found spots of oil all over our vehicle. After we finished eating we got some great exercise cleaning off the oil. Now, that driver probably thought the smoke was just his problem, but it was actually a problem for everyone who got close to it.
I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Pollution Leaves a Trail."
Our word for today from the Word of God, we're in the Old Testament book of Jonah, and you know the Lord gave him directions to go to Nineveh. Jonah 1:3 says, "But Jonah ran away from the Lord." Which is kind of a humorous thought in itself (running away from the Lord, right?), but it says "He went down to Joppa where he found a ship and paid the fare, went aboard and sailed for Tarshish to flee from the Lord. Then the Lord sent a great wind on the sea, and such a violent storm arose that the ship threatened to break up."
Well, of course, now the captain goes below, wakes up Jonah, and then it says, "The sailors said to each other, 'Come with 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? What did you do? Where do you come from? What is your country?' He said, 'I am a Hebrew and I worship the Lord, the God of heaven, who made the sea and the land.'"
Now, Jonah has disobeyed God, and if he thinks like most of us twenty-first century types, he's saying, "Hey, I might be sinning, but it's not hurting anybody. Right?" Oh, I suppose the driver of the smoky semi could have said, "I've got a problem, but it's not hurting anyone else." Well, he was wrong if he thought that, and so was Jonah. Everyone around him was suffering; not because of their sin, but because of his.
Modern morality says, "You know, it's okay if it doesn't hurt anybody." You know what? There's no such thing. I've hugged the parents who are sobbing over their son's life or their daughter's life. And while they're doing their thing, it could be breaking the heart of the people who love that person the most. I've been with the son or daughter who is waiting and watching while their parent walks away from the very truth they were taught by that parent, and they're crushed.
No man is an island. When you have premarital sex you're hurting your future lifetime partner and their future lifetime partner. Your choices affect the family name, and they sure affect your Lord. They affect the reputation of your family. And while you're on your detour, unbelievers are deciding about Jesus based on how you are living.
See, sin twists everything around. You can't sin in a vacuum. You have an ugly trail of wounded people left behind when you're living outside of Christ's boundaries. There's pollution spattering everywhere close to you when you depart from the Word of God. The two you're hurting the most? You and a Savior who loves you very much; who died so you don't have to do that sin.
Isn't it time to end the hurt? Do it God's way. That pollution has already left a long enough trail.