“Nevertheless, I have this against you: You tolerate that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess. By her teaching she misleads my servants into sexual immorality and the eating of food sacrificed to idols. I have given her time to repent of her immorality, but she is unwilling. So I will cast her on a bed of suffering, and I will make those who commit adultery with her suffer intensely, unless they repent of her ways. I will strike her children dead. Then all the churches will know that I am he who searches hearts and minds, and I will repay each of you according to your deeds.” (Reference: Revelation 2:20-23 )
Historic Anabaptist Valerius Schoolmaster has some interesting thoughts, inspired in part by this passage. He says, “in short, every sin is left uncommitted more on account of constraint, shame, and fear of men, than from voluntary goodness for the Lord’s sake.” He puts forth the theory that the poor do not get drunk because of lack of money. And the rich have to much honor and sense of place to do wrong. Furthermore, he says, crime deterrents work to stop people from committing crime. Would that our modern society had such built in constraints.
Nowadays the poor find ways to drunkenness and vices of sin. The rich have no shame or sense of place, but assume and depend on their financial resources and place in society to get them out of trouble or not be held accountable. And crime deterrents do not seem to work.
Schoolmasters makes another observation that does seem to find echo and confirmation in our current society. He says, “And though men are so devoid of shame and given up to evil that they openly keep brothels, and live far more detestably than beasts; they are nevertheless called Christians, and claim to be children and heirs of God by grace.” I found this statement and his previous sort of at odds – but I do not want to make an issue of it.
His final comment to excerpt I think could and should be applied to this current generation; but come to think of it, it might not mean much in current society. He said, “Oh, if men’s sins were written on their foreheads, how constantly would they keep in the house, and conceal themselves in corners, holes and dens, so as not to be seen by men.”
I could go on a diatribe about how the social media seems to broadcast the sins of men and women as if each one had their faults listed for all the world to see. And sadly, if there is no shame from that, why would they care if God knew their sins and faults? This is one of the times, beloved, that Christians who strive in all things to live an accountable life seem to be out of step with everyone else. The theme for today forms a very apt title for these reflections. May you beloved seek mercy and forgiveness from our Lord for each of your sins – both those seen easily and those hidden away. Selah!