The Landscape of Sin part 1
I was recently asked, “…after sin, and repentance, how do you move past it and put it out of your mind?” This is a fair question. My answer in short was, “sometimes sin puts a mark on our emotional landscape like a flood leave a mark on the earthly landscape.” The ravages of nature’s power scar the natural landscape. Whole communities vanish in the wake of tornadoes, hundreds of people are swept out to sea by a monsoon, thousands of people have disappeared beneath mudslides, volcanoes have completely buried large cities, entombing the inhabitants. And the list goes on. Perhaps we should allow that to remind us of the landscape of sin.
Sin scars us for life in one way or another. Physically the lungs are rendered inoperable with the use of tobacco, kidneys poisoned beyond healing by alcohol, brains of some left handicapped by the use of mind altering substances, and the bodies of others left diseased by deviant (alternative) lifestyles. And this list goes on as well. The landscape of sin is a battlefield littered with casualties.
Natural landscapes may eventually heal, and sometimes the human body recovers from abuse. But, the mind forever remains scarred by the memory and consequences of sin. The indelible scars of regret will live in the minds of men and women who destroyed their families because of adultery, or who abused their bodies with drugs, fornication, or alcohol. Parents who’ve neglected their children’s spiritual well-being, and now watch the disastrous lives they live as adults. These will be haunted till they die by regret. Once a person treads the landscape of sin, they wish time and time again they’d never started the journey. They’ll pray a thousand times that they might forget, but to no avail. There are no “do overs” once the sin has been committed.
The memory or consciousness of sin is not all bad. Paul reveals the danger of disregarding sin until one is desensitized to it, “…speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their own conscience seared with a hot iron,…” (1 Tim 4:2-3) When sin no longer affects the conscience, we are in a dangerous condition. But, the scars of sin can serve as reminder of its guilt and shame, causing us to avoid it!
The Lord never promised the erasure of sin from our mind. Man simply does not have the ability to completely forget, especially the heartrending magnitude of sin. In some cases there is a daily reminder of sin because we are enduring the consequences of it. However, more importantly, God promised He would erase the memory of our sin from His mind when we repent and are forgiven, “I, even I, am He who blots out your transgressions for My own sake; And I will not remember your sins.” (Isa 43:25) Praise be to the God of Heaven and earth who knows and sees all, for forgiving and forgetting our sin.
The earthly reminders and consequences of sin are hard enough. It is unfathomable to imagine living in eternity with this regret. The good news of the Gospel is….. we don’t have to! “And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away." (Rev 21:4) The landscape of sin is a hard reminder of the torment in hell that awaits the unfaithful and unbeliever. Think about it.