Then the lust, when it has conceived, bears sin; and the sin, when it is full grown, brings forth death. James 1:15
Representative Christopher Lee recently resigned from Congress after his overtures, fraudulent representations, and shirtless photos to a woman he found on Craigslist were exposed. The Congressman was married. See New York Congressman Resigns Over E-Mails The incident is a sober reminder of basic truths regarding sin.
Foremost, unrepentant sin exposes and destroys. Sin is a cancer that ravages and eats away what is good. Even sins from which we repent can continue causing destruction for long periods of time thereafter, both to the sinner and to those whom it affected. While Christ’s blood washes away the weight and spiritual consequences of sin, the scars and temporal repercussions may be with us until our final breath, or Christ’s return. Mr. Lee was at the height of his career, a national leader in the prime of his life. That’s all gone. Career is over; he’s shamed; his name is sullied, and his family is likely devastated.
Which leads directly to a second nature of sin. It’s insatiable. Being a US Congressman with a beautiful family wasn’t enough. While Christ is the living water and bread of life, sin only creates a deeper hole in our being that demands more and more to be filled. It temporarily satiates, but the hunger returns quickly and more fiercely. There is no lasting peace or enduring joy in sin. Sin is a ferocious lion whose end purpose is destruction. Sin only feeds its own hunger, until it devours all whom it touches.
Third, sin is always self-centered. The NYT’s article does an excellent job “showing” this truth. The story shows a picture the Congressman sent to the woman — a self-portrait Mr. Lee took of himself posing in the mirror, flexing his muscles. His intentions for pursuing this woman are obvious and too common to the nature of man. His shirtless posturing in front of the mirror captures his utter vanity, the essence of sin. Sin starts with focusing on the self and taking our eyes off of Christ. Sin always focuses on the self first. If we focus on God and the needs of others before ourselves, sin falls away. Such focus comes from Christ; it is not of the flesh.
Sin leads to suffering and death. This is appropriate. Suffering breaks us and causes us to realize that we are not in control or in charge. It causes us to take our focus off ourselves and to reach out to God. It was for good reason that the lost and downtrodden sought out Christ and worshipped him, while the powerful and mighty plotted against Christ. At the end, death is the final reminder we cannot ignore that we are not in control. God is. And he offers the bread of life, the true source of peace and strength.
Please say a prayer for Mr. Lee and especially for his family.