Three Steps to Sin:
P.S. - sin always affects others
Ruth Bell Graham
I think Ruth pretty much nailed this one. Short, sweet, to the point and pretty darn accurate. Odd, how easy it is to sin, especially when you consider we actually have not one but 3 choices to make. We have to choose to contemplate it, choose to rationalize, and choose to consent. That means we have 3 chances to stop the process too, knowing there are dire outcomes (sin always affects others,not to mention yourself) if we move onto step 2 or 3!
Yet, we all do it, we all mess up.
Which is why I love the story of Peter and the crowing rooster. Here is Jesus with his disciples having their last supper together before his death on th cross. Jesus knows what is coming, he probably feels quite alone as there is no one else around the table even amongst his closest friends, who get his pain.
Jesus looks at Peter and says "Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back strengthen your brothers (Luke 22:31).
Peter emphatically insists "Lord I am ready to go with you to prison and to death!"
But Jesus says "I tell you, Peter, before the rooster crows today, you will deny three times that you know me."
Later that night, when Jesus is arrested Peter follows at a distance. He is attempting to keep his fiery words of complete and utter loyalty. So as he sits by the fire trying to look inconspicuous, someone across the way is staring intently and accuses "This man was with him!" Peter quickly contemplates what to do. He rationalizes, if he admits it, he will be caught and then what good would he be to Jesus! So he gives his consent and lies "I don't know him." He does this two more times, getting louder and more insistent believing his lie. After the third time the rooster crows and Jesus turns and looks straight at him. It is a knife to Peter's heart, he knows he has blown it and he runs out to weep bitterly. We can all relate to how Peter felt. I know I Can!
Afterwards, Peter gave up on himself, he went back to fishing. He probably felt, "I'm no good to even be called a disciple of Jesus. I'm just a dumb old fisherman, that's all I'm good for."
So when he finds himeself sitting around another camp fire, this time with Jesus, he can barely look him in the eye. He hangs his head in shame. But Jesus reinstates him, not once, twice, but three times, wiping off each of Peter's mistakes. He directs Peter to do the very thing he now has expertise on, looking after Jesus' sheep. Peter has been through it, he has been sifted by Satan, he knows what it feels like to blow it. Jesus knew this would happen, he was praying for Peter even before the events took place.
"And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers."
The best person to remove a sliver out of another's eye is the one who has been through the same thing, who has removed not just a sliver, but a whole plank.
When we blow it we can come back stronger, and be there, with compassion, understanding and grace to help someone else through.