Personal Sin is Never Simply Personal

Steve Kenny

"But Israel was unfaithful concerning the things set apart for the Lord. A man named Achan had stolen some of these things, so the Lord was very angry with the Israelites." (Joshua 7:1)
The Lord was angry with Israel over the sin of one man and they didn't know it - until they were defeated at Ai and asked "why?". I see two important lessons contained in this one simple verse. First of all, we must all be mindful of the truth that no personal sin is ever simply personal. Every sinful act we engage in affects others around us, whether or not they know about it and whether or not we recognize the effects. Achan convinced himself that his sin would be private, but because of his sin, lives were lost and the Israelites experienced humiliating defeat.

Secondly, as a community of believers, we must always be faithful to address sin in our midst. It's easier to turn a blind eye because we are afraid of confrontation. But we must be diligent to speak the truth in love and willing to work toward restoration. If we allow sin to go undealt with, we will reap what we sow and find that the protection and blessing of God is exchanged for defeat and discord. Paul's letter to the Corinthians in 1 Cor. 5 is another example for us. Paul was addressing the church for having spiritual pride while, at the same time, allowing one man to live in sin. "How terrible that you should boast about your spirituality, and yet you let this sort of thing go on. Don't you realize that if even one person is allowed to go on sinning, soon all will be affected?" (1 Corinthians. 5:6)
I do not ever want to be tolerant of sin. I want to be vigilant about recognizing and removing sin from my own life before someone else has to. In all that I say and do, I want to always have before me the truth that my personal sins are never simply personal. If undealt with, they will affect my marriage, my family, my ministry, my church and so on.

As a leader and pastor, I desire to live with my eyes wide open. Not to judge others, but to have the discernment necessary to recognize sin in our midst before it is running rampant and the courage to deal with it boldly and yet, lovingly, so that restoration and victory will be the result.
Continually make me aware of those areas in my own life where I am living in sin. Give me the strength to stand against the enemy in those things and remove them from my heart and life. I know that victory and blessing are ours if we walk in obedience to you, but our disobedience brings defeat and division. Grant me wisdom and discernment as I lead people. May my life, first, be an example to those I lead and then help me to lovingly lead people to Your truth about sin, not into tolerance of it.

Devotions for March 20

Joshua 7,8
Psalms 69
1 Corinthians 5

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