Wednesday, August 24, 2005
Senior year in college - somehow our son had maneuvered himself into a coveted on-campus house for his senior lodging. About a dozen guys set up their own little universe there (not necessarily an orderly universe, of course). He told me that one day he and several other guys were talking about a student leader who was a friend of theirs. We'll call him Marty. And in the "talk, then think" atmosphere of college guys in a room, our son was reviewing some of the dumb things (that was his opinion) Marty had done in his leadership choices. As he was finishing this little barbecue, someone drifted into the room from the kitchen - the room right next door. It was, of course, Marty with his cup of coffee in his hand. He'd been right next door making himself some coffee - no doubt listening to this critical review of his leadership. He didn't say anything. He didn't have to. Our son felt about an inch tall when he realized who he had been hurting.
I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "The Invisible Victim."
If you have ever hurt someone you didn't realize you were hurting, you know how bad it feels when you finally wake up. Funny, isn't it, just like in that college gab session. What you're doing doesn't bother you until suddenly you realize who you've been hurting. Maybe that's something you need to be thinking about right now.
Our word for today from the Word of God comes from Genesis 39. It's about Joseph, a Jewish young man who's been taken as a slave to the land of Egypt. He's purchased by a powerful general named Potiphar, and rises to the position of estate manager. The Bible picks up the story with a powerful temptation that suddenly confronts Joseph - and the powerful response. Here's what is says: "Joseph was well-built and handsome; and after a while, his master's wife took notice of Joseph and said, Come to bed with me!' But he refused. 'With me in charge,' he told her, 'my master does not concern himself with anything in the house; everything he owns he has entrusted to my care. My master has withheld nothing from me except you, because you are his wife. How then could I do such a wicked thing and sin against God?" (vs. 6-9) Here Joseph resists an incredibly attractive temptation. Why? He said, "I can't do this to God." Not to Potiphar, not to Potiphar's wife, not to his religious upbringing. He said, "If I do this, I'll be hurting God."
The flip side: King David, who said yes to a sexual temptation that marked his life from that night on. He had sex with another man's wife and then conspired to have that man killed. His agony over this sin is recorded in Psalm 51. He says, "My sin is always before me. Against you, and you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight" (vs. 3-4). Bottom line: he hadn't sinned against Bathsheba's husband, or Bathsheba, or the rules ultimately. He said, "God, I did this against you, didn't I?"
Right now you may be involved in something you know is wrong - it's a compromise, it's rebellion, it's wrong. You say, "Well, it's not hurting anyone." Oh yes, it is. When Jesus' right hand man, Peter, denied him, the Bible says that Peter went out and wept bitterly over it - but only after Jesus, on His way to His trial, turns and looks straight at Peter. And suddenly Peter realized he wasn't just breaking laws. He was breaking his Savior's heart.
And so are you with that sin of yours. This isn't about rebelling against your parents or your church, or breaking some religious rules. This is about breaking the heart of Jesus - who gave His life so you wouldn't have to do that kind of junk! Please hear this. You're doing this to Jesus! The One who loves you the most knows what you're doing and it really hurts. Can you keep on doing it when you know it is breaking your Savior's heart?