Sin is Never Just a Personal Issue

The writers of the New Testament epistles make it clear that in the body of Christ we are to have a healthy interdependence on each other. The New Testament teaching shows us that as a body made up of many parts, we all affect one another. This New Testament concept is shown clearly in an Old Testament story found in Joshua chapter 7.

Most of us know the story in Joshua chapter 6 where Joshua led the army of Israel to defeat Jericho by obeying the word of the Lord and the walls came tumbling down. It’s a great story of the children of God obediently following the instruction of the Lord which produced a glorious and spectacular victory. It is truly an awesome story. Unfortunately chapter 7 immediately starts with a story about a man named Achan who kept some things for himself which God had clearly instructed weren’t to be kept.

Verse 2 of chapter 7 speaks of the spies who were sent to spy out the land of Ai. When they went to attack, instead of Israel having the victory, 36 men died as they lost the battle that day. Joshua was in shock and began to cry out to the Lord asking Him why this had happened. It was then that God made it clear to Joshua that the reason for their defeat was because they had stolen, lied, and disobeyed God.

God eventually led Joshua to confront Achan about what he had done. At which point Achan responded in verse 20, “Truly I have sinned against the Lord God of Israel, and this is what I did: when I saw among the spoil a beautiful cloak from Shinar, and 200 shekels of silver, and a bar of gold weighing 50 shekels, then I coveted them and took them. And see, they are hidden in the earth inside my tent, with the silver underneath.”

Achan confessed that he coveted the clothing and the silver and the gold. That was a violation of a commandment right there, because God tells us not to covet. In his case, Achan’s coveting led to thievery and his disobedience led to the death of 36 Israelites who died at the hands of their enemies.

The story doesn’t tell us all the details, but can you imagine 36 mothers or 36 grieving widows gathered around Achan and his family, now realizing the loss of their son or husband is the direct result of this one man’s disobedience? Likewise, can you imagine the look of horror on Achan’s face when he saw the grieving mothers and grieving widows with their little children whose fathers will never be coming home? Imagine the look of terror on Achan’s face when he realizes that his sin is the reason why these kids will never see their fathers walk through the door again.

Joshua chapter 8 ends with the death of not merely Achan, but his entire family. Not only was Achan confronted with the results of his sin on his neighbors, but was also faced with the horrifying reality that his sin cost his own children their precious lives.

In those final moments, do you really think Achan thought that his sin was worth it? Was a nice cloak and some silver and gold really worth the death of other men and his own wife and children? No, a thousand times, no! The pleasures of sin are ever so fleeting and never worth it in the end.

I’ve never known a man yet who sacrificed his wife for the bottle and in the end believed it was worth it. I’ve yet to meet a man who, having lost his marriage because of his pornography addiction, would smile and say it was worth it. But what I have experienced is the pain of sitting with men while they groan and cry over the marriages and families they’ve lost because they’ve lived for momentary pleasure. My own heart has been wracked with pain so many times as I’ve listened to the stories of the consequences of sin catching up with people.

There is a huge lie that our culture has devastatingly, foolishly bought into. And that lie is, “What I do is my own business. It doesn’t matter what I do. It’s not affecting anybody else.”

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