I suspect God had to chuckle at himself a bit when he gave me two daughters right off the bat. Payback would be sweet.
My mother especially deserves a good stern handshake for surviving my teen years. Clothing was a major issue. In my 14-year-old brilliance, I was certain that those high-waisted pants and tapered-leg jeans she wore would never, ever in a thousand-bazillion years be in style, and therefore she was not be trusted to know anything about fashion.
Meanwhile, I looked like this:
It was modesty that was the real issue. Midriff baring tops were in (or at least I thought they were in) and my mom most certainly thought they were out.
Again, not to be trusted.
(She has not heard the following story, but I am too old to punish. Heh.)
To my delight, when I was in about the 8th grade, she went on a work trip during the week, leaving us at home with Dad. I pulled on a slightly tummy-revealing top that I had acquired somewhere without her knowledge and slipped out the front door unnoticed. (This is one of the rare instances when having terrible posture comes in handy. By slouching I could almost completely hide that my stomach was showing. It was brilliant. Scoliosis-1, Parents-0.)
But it was also miserable.
I had never been so uncomfortable in my whole life. Not only because approximately one inch of my stomach was exposed the entire day, but also because I knew I was in the wrong. Whether or not I agreed with Mom, the rules had been set and I had blatantly disobeyed.
I learned at least one thing that day: I wasn’t cut out for a life of crime.
A few years back—when I was big ol’ pregnant with Hattie—Josh and I took a little trip up north and spent a fast and exhausting day in New York City. I don’t remember much about it, honestly, outside of how much my feet hurt and this sign:
It says, “Sin will find you out.”
(I had to pull this picture off the Internet because I couldn’t find our copy, but I wasn’t surprised that it was there. Someone else had seen this and found it note-worthy.)
I had seen it and found it sad.
It’s not that it isn’t true. It is, and it’s scriptural. In Numbers 32, Moses warned the Israelites that choosing to do things their own way and not as the Lord had commanded them would have consequences. The Bible also says it this way, “Whoever digs a pit will fall into it; if someone rolls a stone, it will roll back on them” (Prov. 26:27).
God takes sin seriously, and so should we. The things we do or don’t do have consequences, both on earth and in eternity.
And God takes sin so seriously because God is holy. So very holy that our disobedience in any matter—as small as a cropped shirt even—is enough to separate us from him.
It sounds harsh, but it isn’t. It is holiness.
And that’s why Jesus is such an incredibly big deal.
So that sign wasn’t so much wrong as it was incomplete.
I wish it would have said: Your sin will find you out, but
Jesus came so that we could have life, and have it in abundance (John 10:10).
“God shows his great love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8).
“For God did not send his son to condemn the world, but to save the world through him” (John 3:17).
But that would’ve been a really big sign.
I don’t know who’s reading this. I don’t know what you believe about God.
Maybe this is old news for you—you’ve already trusted in Jesus as your savior, or maybe you consider yourself a Christian but your life doesn’t necessarily reflect it, or maybe you don’t believe a word of the whole darn thing.
But know this:
The message of the Bible is Hope, not condemnation.
Sin separates us from a God who desperately wants us to draw near. So God’s holiness may seem harsh, but it’s not. It’s a sign pointing us to our need for Jesus and his beautiful, redemptive, life-changing, purpose-filled grace.
That’s a sign worth hanging, friends.
(But again. Too long.)
*What about you? (Someone agree with me about the high-waisted jeans, please…) Or maybe, more importantly, someone rebelled (like me) and God’s incredible love drew them back (like me.) Oh, do share, please.