Dear church,

I wonder if one of the problems in our country is our refusal to draw lines. 

I was thinking a bit about abortion last week with the passage and immediate challenge of South Carolina’s “heartbeat bill” – and our reading about the baby boys of Israel being thrown into the Nile River. Human life is precious to God.

And so I started to think about our unwillingness to draw lines. 

In the abortion debate, many people are unwilling to clearly delineate when life actually starts – at conception, heartbeat, viability, birth, etc. The point in time in which life begins becomes a moving target. And so our culture struggles to draw the line. Some people don’t want to offend other people, and some care about certain rights more than others. And so no lines are drawn.

The Bible, of course, indicates life begins at conception. God knits human beings together in the womb (Psalm 139).

I wonder if this refusal to draw lines is becoming a real problem in our culture. For instance, the idea of subjective morality has become pretty commonplace around us. What’s right for you may not be right for me, and that’s OK. “To each his own,” we say. We won’t draw lines, even though there is an absolute right and wrong in the moral realm.

The president of the United States recently refused to draw moral lines about human rights abuses in China. It’s about cultural differences, he said.

And then we come into the issue of sexuality and gender. What is a holy relationship? Are there real differences between men and women? Can a man actually become a woman? You’ve heard plenty about this already, I’m sure. 

We don’t want to draw lines. And our culture seems to be collapsing into chaos. We are punished by the very things by which we sin. 

Perhaps that’s the point I’ve arrived at for now: We are punished by the very things by which we sin.

Our refusal to draw hard lines between right and wrong leaves us confused and unsure. And we are growing weak as a nation.

The Egyptians had a god of prosperity and fertility named Hepat. When they created images of this god, he looked like the head of a frog. 

And so came the second plague sent by God on the land of Egypt. They were punished by the very things by which they sinned. Their idolatry came back to bite them – or at least to croak at them. 

This ought to make us think carefully about our own sin histories. Have you fallen into pride or lust or an insatiable desire to control things? Have you fallen into greed and covetousness? What about deceit or the fudging of the truth? What about holding back from God?

Are there any ways those sins and sinful tendencies have come back to haunt your life?

Even for his children – those who have accepted Jesus as their Lord and Savior and who are living by the fruit of the Spirit today – God offers his discipline for our good (Hebrews 12:5ff).

I used the word “punishment” above, but it also could be “training.” We are trained by the very things by which we sin. The difference is in where we put our hope and in our understanding of ourselves as children of God who are being sanctified.

The Pharaoh, of course, rejected all of this. And there were still eight plagues to come.


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