It happened on the way home one day. Dee and I were driving past David King's house, and he was outside working on his flower beds. It was a hot day, very hot. David was obviously experiencing the heat as his face and shirt were drenched in sweat.
We asked him what he was doing.
"Working in the flower beds." was his reply. And then came a question that I have not stopped thinking about since he asked. Not because of the question, but rather the prompt answer that came to mind. David said, "I cannot keep these weeds from growing in my garden. How do you guys take care of your weeds?"
Without thinking (which is not uncommon for me) I answered, "We don't. We just started calling them flowers."
This statement has rolled around in my mind for the past few weeks. As I mowed the lawn the last 3 times, I kept thinking about how true this statement is in other areas of our lives.
When I begin to call things by other names, my response to them changes.
Many years ago, I was making breakfast for my children, and I asked them if they wanted "french toast". My oldest daughter said, "I don't want toast". To which I replied, "not toast, Brooke, french toast - it's different." We went back and forth for a while, and eventually the light went on for me. She wasn't going to get it, so I asked her if she wanted, "glibberglobber" for breakfast. She said, "yes", and I made her french toast. To this day, we have glibberglobber, not french toast. Same thing - just called something different.
The reason this thought is really impacting to me is because of the use of terms that are critical. My daughter not knowing what something is called and being willing to try something "new" isn't a big deal. However, when I begin calling "sin" something other than it is, I start to make it easier to swallow, or at the very least, less offensive to me.
"Gossip" is a sin, "talking with others about someone" isn't quite as bad, and "sharing information that might be useful for someone to know" is almost defendable. All three involve the same activity, but calling something a "sin" makes it so much more difficult to justify.
Sin is behaving any way that is contrary to the nature of God. He has made clear - using precise words - what sin is. We are all guilty of sin, but think that if we just lessen the degree of the explanation of our sins, then we will be less guilty.
That's like calling a dandelion a "rose". Just because I change the wording doesn't make it any more like a rose than it was when I called it a dandelion.
The truth is, when I begin to call weeds, "weeds", I know exactly what needs to be extracted from my garden. And when I look at God's word to see what "sin" actually is, I realize what God needs to extract in my life as well.
The good news of the gospel is that God has provided a way through Jesus Christ for our lives to be "sinless" because of His righteousness that he offers us through His shed blood. But this only happens when I see the sin in my life that is so offensive to a Holy God!
God help me call the "failures", the "weaknesses", the "mess-ups" in my life what they really are - SIN, and then bring them to my Holy Father who offers forgiveness, grace and mercy.
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