Thursday, October 3, 2013

Reflections on Proverbs: The Toils of Sin, Part 5

After that public service announcement on issues of education and faith, let's return to our regularly scheduled programming still in progress....

Our verses for this series of posts on the toils of sin are as follows:

The iniquities of the wicked ensnare him,
  and he is caught in the toils of his sin. Proverbs 5:22

There are six things which the Lord hates,
  seven which are an abomination to him;
haughty eyes, a lying tongue,
  and hands that shed innocent blood,
a heart that devises wicked plans,
  feet that make haste to run to evil,
false witness who breathes out lies,
  and a man who sows discord among brothers. Proverbs 6:16-19

This week's concern is "feet that make haste to run to evil." The previous line says that the Lord hates a heart that devises wicked plans...plotters and schemers. Plots and schemes can take time to unfold, and often require patience to wait for the evil fruit to ripen.

Feet that make haste are not patient at all. They run without thought to evil. Their first response is evil. In fact, feet that make haste to evil are feet that run to evil all the time, habitually.

Think about the woman who stole the $20 bill from the blind man at Dairy Queen. He dropped the bill, she picked it up and pocketed it, and she refused to give it back when confronted by the DQ manager.

I cannot fathom the moral vacuum in which this woman runs around.

Thou shalt not steal.

That's my moral habit.

Years ago, unbeknownst to me, my toddler dropped something into the stroller basket at a store. I didn't realize it until after we'd left the store and I had loaded the baby and toddler into their car seats and was folding the stroller to put in the car.

I had to put the stroller back up, get the baby out of the car and into the stroller, then get the toddler out, then hold his hand while pushing the stroller back into the store with my other hand, and then confess to the shop attendant and hand her the item.

She said it was no problem, the item wasn't worth much, and it didn't matter.

Yes, it mattered.

Not only did I need to return the item because it wasn't mine, but I needed to teach the toddler that we always do the right thing, no matter how inconvenient or trivial it might seem.

So I'm not a thief, and my feet don't run to that sin, and it's easy for me to feel holier than that $20 thief. But where do my feet run habitually that does lead to sin?

Does gossip count? Lately, I've noticed my tongue running that way. It needs to stop.

Does anger count?

Does impatience count?

Well, of course gossip and anger and impatience count. And of course my personal moral vacuum needs to be filled with a loving tongue, a peaceful heart, and lots and lots of patience. The damage I do with these sins may not go viral on the internet or be prosecuted under the law, but that damage is real to the victims nevertheless.

And there are victims, as surely as that blind man who dropped the $20 was a victim. Friends, strangers, my children, my husband...these are the victims of my sin.

Remembering that there's a victim when I gossip, a victim when I get angry, a victim when I lose patience is the first brake I can apply to the speed of my sin.

The Lord hates feet that make haste to run to evil.

How do your feet run to sin? How can you brake your forward speed, break that habit within yourself? How will you begin?