Monday, March 10, 2008

Pattern of Sin

1. We want something or we want to do something.

2. God says no, either through an express commandment or through circumstances including another person or authority figure.

3. We make excuses and justify and rationalize why what we want or what we want to do is okay. It isn't really that bad and God didn't really say that we could not do this, or his commandment does not apply in this case, and so on and so forth. So we do whatever it takes to get what we want....and we sin. (Although sometimes at this stage we are thwarted in our attempts and then we just skip to step 5.)

4. God (or one of his agents) rebukes, corrects, chastises, or expresses his great displeasure at our sin.

5. Since we justified what we wanted to do, we get angry, bitter, and throw a little temper fit or pout. We blame everyone else, including God, but never blame ourself.

6. At this point the path splits. We can go down the road to hard- heartedness, stiff-necked rebellion, and eventual searing of our conscience OR we can be brought to repentance where we confess and ask for forgiveness.

We do not necessarily think through each of these steps. Rather, this is a distillation of the process that we habitually follow, many times without recognizing it or acknowledging it. Especially if we get to step 6 and deny that we did anything wrong. After all we had good reasons for it. As did Cain, as did Saul, as did Samson, as did King David, as did Eli, and so on and so forth.

For a parent, you need to work through your child's sin in step 6 and bring them to repentance. At the Caer, after chastisement or rebuke or correction, we pray with the child. They must tell God exactly what their sin is and name it. We do not allow any hedging. If they lied, they must say, "I lied." They are not allowed to say "I did the wrong thing," or "I should have said something different." They simply must state the sin to God and then ask for forgiveness for it. They also must ask God for the grace to repent.

Next, if their sin involved another person they must go to that person and do the same thing. They need to say, "I'm sorry I lied to you, will you forgive me?" It is not enough that they say "I'm sorry." That is just their telling how they feel about it--and mostly because they got caught and are in trouble....The other person needs to say, "I forgive you." If restitution needs to be made, for instance they took gum or candy or broke a toy, then the offender must make plans and then restore the stolen or broken item.

Plenty of times we do not actually feel repentant. Repentance is actually a gift of grace from God and He works in the heart. However, we believe that we must learn the pattern of confession and seeking forgiveness and train it into the children. We did not learn this as children and still are working on learning it as adults. Also, God asks for our obedience and as we obey, then He works on our hearts. So as the children are taught the obedience in the process, God is faithful and will grant them repentance too.

---posted by Queen Lucy


Anonymous said...

question for Queen Lucy:
Do you believe the wife (in a mutually Christian marriage) has the privilege to rebuke her husband? if so, what is she to do (besides the obvious duty of prayer)when he is unrepentant? if not, then I have erred & I need to repent! Thanks.

Caer Clan said...

Re: question

I want to respond with as much Scripture as possible to explain. Many people know the Scripture and principles, but are not sure how to apply in real life situations.
First, Proverbs 10:11 "Hatred stirreth up contentions: but love covereth all trespasses."

When two sinners live together in marriage (or in a family) there are going to be a daily multitude of sins committed both ways. That is why 1 Cor. 13 tells us that love bears all things, does not seek revenge or its own way. So the daily ongoing sins that are part of our nature need to be constantly covered in love.

Just because a wife is under the headship of her husband, does not mean she can never talk to him about his sins!!! The problem with most of us wives is that we have an tendency to want to make our husbands holy men by our own strength, pushing, and cajoling. We forget that this is actually the job of the Holy Spirit who convicts us of sin. So it would be better if we were regularly questioning ourselves and our motives thoroughly before the throne of God. Matthew 7:1-5 is a good reference for that. Are we picking out a little mote in our closest brother's eye (our husband) when we have huge logs in our own??? (BTW I am really good at that and have to repent all the time about it.)

However, when the sin is grievous, or an ongoing one that someone is not even trying to repent of, then the issues enter a new level. (Repentance means we stop doing the wrong things, and start doing the right things.) The second greatest commandment is "to love your brother as you love yourself." Out of love for our brother, we would not want the condmnation of God to come upon them, so we want to help them turn away from sin. "Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted." (Gal. 6:1)

Then we would get into a Matthew 18 situation, "Moreover if your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone. If he hears you, you have gained your brother."

This means a wife does not go and tell her girlfriend or complain about him to the children or the in-laws, etc. She goes to him directly in a spirit of gentleness and love and talks about what has happened and asks him to repent with respect.

"But if he will not hear, take with you one or two more, that by the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established. And if he refuses to hear them, tell it to the church. But if he refuses even to hear the church, let him be to you like a heathen and a tax collector."

My suggestion is that if the husband will not hear the gentle, respectful talk of his wife about a sin that has offended her, she needs to find a godly man whom she trusts to go with her and discuss it with the husband. She should not take a woman, because the man will not even remotely respect another woman. If she does this and he will not hear, then the next step is to go to the church, to the elders. They then should be involved in bringing the man to repentance and restoration.

Now comes the problematical issues. I know of only a rare handful of churches that would even begin to know how to handle such a situation Biblically. Nevertheless, it is God's prescribed solution, and a woman needs to follow that with faith that God will be a righteous judge and care for her as he did Sarah when Abraham let Pharoah haul her off to the harem.--God did deliver her! eventually---
Above all, a wife needs to be faithfully pursuing God, His righteousness--not her own--praying, and seeking peace. Sin effect all involved in grievous ways, including the victims and the perpetrator. Lack of sin is never an option in our lives, it is how we deal with it (or don't) that causes all the problems. It IS difficult to deal with, but we cannot ignore it either.

1 John 1:9 show us what our God is like, that he is ready to forgive and to cleanse us of all unrighteousness. We need to be like God by His grace.

Hope this helps explain better.
--Queen Lucy