For most of my life, the Bible was more of a tool for guilt rather than purity. Don’t get me wrong, since I was a kid I loved, and still love, reading it, but there were many times where I would grow very frustrated by reading about the Holy calling God has placed on us and become extremely frustrated with my inability to attain it.
My Christianity evolved into a basic belief that I was an unholy, perverted, evil, piece of garbage and God had some how found it in His heart to save me from the eternal Hell I so greatly deserved. Anytime I ever “sinned” in any form, it was just another reminder of how pathetic I was. The fact is, my early form of Christianity wasn’t exactly great for me in the self-esteem department.
Eventually I began to wonder how God came up with what was and what wasn’t sin? Did He just make it up as He went? Did He roll dice? Did He determine it based on how fun something was? What was it? That’s when I finally started looking at the different activities we call “sin” and began asking, “Why is that a sin?” My life changing revelation came when I finally understood that “sin” was not so much about defying God as it was about my quality of life. When we make sin ALL about defying God, then it creates a huge gap in our relationship with Him. We cower as we know we have “defied” Him or broken His heart, or whatever. It’s like a bunch of mom guilt thrown at us. But what if sin is more that that? After all, He HAS left us free to do it. It’s not like invisible force fields pop up and keep us from doing things. Today I see “sin” not as a decree from God but a warning from Him. Like a sign that says, “Danger High Voltage Do Not Touch.” The reason I would not touch a fence in that circumstance has nothing to do with obeying the sign, it has to do with not getting fried to death. To disobey the sign would not be a personal attack on the sign maker, it would be an act of sheer stupidity on my part. The sign maker is not going to suffer nearly as much as I will for defying his “decree.” Kinda like when dad would say, “This is gonna hurt me a lot more than it hurts you” as he grabbed his belt to swat my rear for doing something stupid as a kid. Now I can look back and say, “Nope…..I’m still pretty sure it hurt me more.” (Which is probably why my dad never actually said that to me)
I think it is much easier to use the Bible to help us pursue purity and holiness when we view it from the perspective of a warning. Purity and Holiness are for our benefit. There is a good chance if you are reading this blog you have already touched the electric fence of pornography and have been zapped by it. You probably already know the pain it can lead to in threatening your marriages, in costing jobs, in cheapening sex and whatever else you’ve had happen. You probably know so well the completely unfulfilling feeling that follows each incident. These things are not God’s punishment, they are sin’s punishment. That is why God tells us not to do this stuff. Sin is its own punishment, its own suffering, its own misery, and its own Hell. I no longer fear the wrath of God, I fear the wrath of sin! A wrath from which God is desperately trying to save us.
When we read the Bible from this perspective, a perspective that it truly is leading us to a better and more fulfilling life, then we see purity is not a harder life to live……but an easier one.
Will Hathaway is an Ordained Minister, Author, and served in Law Enforcement as a SWAT Negotiator.
He can be contacted through his website