Sin and Sin

Sometimes God is mean.

Not just like a mad father, or a father who has to discipline us for a good reason.

But really horns-blaring after being cut off mad.

“Now go” the Lord once said, “And strike Amalek and utterly destroy all that he has, and do not spare him; but put to death both man and woman, child and infant, ox and sheep, camel and donkey.”[1]

Why the donkey, Lord? What did the stupid animal ever do?

As I sit and ponder these things I wonder about sin.

People are so quick to categorize sin, usually with killing at the top, and genocide at the top of the degrees of killing. And yet, we find the Bible making an endorsement for genocide. When Saul does not kill the stupid donkeys and the cattle, God says through Samuel He is so mad that the kingship will be torn from him. Until the last day, Saul desperately tried to salvage a drowning kingship.

Sometimes, then, I start to wonder. Do I really know God?

Do I really want to know the God who sometimes resorts to genocide? Do I want to know the God of sulfur, who destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah? Or is the God I serve more a representation of who I am. White. Middle class. Suburban. Do I really fear the God of the universe, or Danny’s made up miniature Buddha? A simple golden figure that I can wrap my intellect around.

You know what I want to do sometimes do?

I want to tell people which sins are worse than other sins. I want to say that lying is no big deal. I want to say that we should worry about the “big” sins. You know, like genocide. Why, then, did the Lord feel the need to kill Ananias and Sapphira for lying about the price of their home? Am I really worrying about the “big” sins, or am I worrying about what I want to worry about? Am I worrying about what my culture says I should worry about or what God wants me to worry about?

So often I hear people say, “God is all about ______.” Fill it in with whatever you want. God is all about giving you the best life now. God is all about salvation. God is all about the poor. God is all about restoration. And we do not let God speak for himself. Maybe we should stop passing judgments on which are “big” sins and which are “small” sins. Maybe we should give God the space to enter into our lives—into our sacred places—and maybe just maybe, all we can do is react.

Naturally we will be scared.

But what else can we do?

Where else can we go, but the spring of living water?

[1]1 Samuel 15:3


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