In the book of Jonah, God tells Jonah to go prophesy against Nineveh. Jonah rebels and runs in the opposite direction. He jumps on a ship, which sets sail and then encounters a terrible storm. Jonah is asleep in the bowels of the ship, but the crew are running about, distracted, trying everything they know to save themselves: they pray to their gods, they throw all the wares they’re carrying overboard. Nothing assuages the storm. They find Jonah asleep. He’s the only one who isn’t panicking and trying to save himself. When questioned, he returns an honest reply (that he serves the living God who created and controls all things), and the crew’s panic deepens. Jonah offers the solution, to throw him overboard. The crew, instead of instantly obeying him, decide to try to row themselves to safety. It doesn’t work, they throw Jonah overboard, and the storm is quieted.
My initial thought was to post about all the ways we try to “fix” our own problems. The crew didn’t know what to do, didn’t even know the true God, so they did everything they could think of. Even after they were introduced to God, they still thought they could fix the situation themselves. Of course, it still didn’t work. When God wants something done, it doesn’t get fixed until we obediently follow His direction. We all do things like that: try to fix our messes (whether we caused them or they were thrust upon us) in our own strength and knowledge, only to expend a bunch of useless energy and resources before turning to God for our true Help. He always knows best.
But then I got to thinking more about this. (God always has more when you go deeper.) Another message here is how our sin doesn’t just affect us: it affects those around us.
Do you have a secret sin? Something you think is only all about you? Something you think doesn’t hurt anyone else, and you can put up with whatever harm may come to you?
Jonah ran from God. He wasn’t hurting anyone else. But the consequences affected others. Besides throwing fear into the hearts of the crew, the wares in the ship were thrown overboard. Some businessmen lost a lot of money because of Jonah. Of course, God redeems: the crew were introduced to God; and we don’t know the repercussions of the lost wares.
When we sin, it’s not just about us. God is a God of relationships, and He created us for relationships. When we sin, even if we keep it a secret, it hurts someone besides us. A secret sin changes us inside. How we think, and what we do as a result, affects others.
Another thought: secret sin builds up and destroys. (remember? The wages of sin is death?) Sin kills things inside of us, changes the way we think and feel. And, it’s going to come out somehow. Don’t let it explode in anger against someone. Don’t wait, thinking you can handle it your way, until things get out of control. Sin takes you to places you never wanted to go, makes you do things you never wanted to do, hurts people you never wanted to hurt.
CONFESS YOUR SIN. Talk to God. He can keep secrets; he can let the right people know; He can put you in a humbling position; He can lift you up. He will know the right thing to do, and He will do it because He loves you.