Wednesday, April 6, 2011

April 6 - Romans 14:7-8

None of us lives to himself alone
and none of us dies to himself alone.
If we live, we live to the Lord;
and if we die, we die to the Lord.
So, whether we live or die,
we belong to the Lord.
Romans 14:7-8
Have you ever heard this lie: "I can do what I want. After all, I'm not hurting anybody but me"? In Romans 14, the Apostle Paul begs to differ, saying, none of us lives to himself and none of us dies to himself. In 1 Corinthians 5, Paul puts it like this: He talks of one or two peoples sins ("1 sexual immorality"), and says even one person's actions, like a little leven, affects the whole loaf, the whole body, the whole church.
As we finish up reading the book of Judges, that's a piece of our story today. Judges 19-21 tell a horrific story on one person's sin cascading into a country-wide calamity:
  • A Levite takes a concubine.
  • Over the next few months, this priest abuses her a time or two.
  • And then she leaves him a time or two.
  • So the aggravated "husband" allows the men of his town to rape her repeatedly.
  • Then he literally carves his concubine up into twelve pieces.
  • He sends those twelve pieces to the twelve tribes of Israel.
  • And then he starts lying.
  • This murderous Levite tells the other tribes that the tribe of Benjamin forced themselves on his "wife," and, essentially, these pieces are what's left. 
  • The rest of Israel's tribes -- rightly appalled, but believing a lie -- wage war against the falsely accused tribe of Benjamin.
  • About 60,000 Israelites die in the insuing battles.
  • Only about 600 Benjamite men are left.
  • So Israel -- sad that they've essentially lost a whole tribe -- decides these men need wives.
  • So the Israelites butcher the town of Jabesh-Gilead -- who didn't fight against Benjamin -- and give their 400 remaining daughters to the remaining Benjaminites.
Can you say horrifying?
Now ... few of our sins have seem to have such dire consequences. However, we don't know how our unfaithfulness will affect the next generation ... and the next ... and the next. We forget how it might affect our family, our community, and our church. Indeed, how often do we think of nothing but ourselves?
In Christ's Love,
a guy who doesn't want to start a national calamity
(therefore, tell my wife I'm going to refuse
to take that concubine)
... actually a guy who doesn't want to excuse any sin  

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