Think You Can Get Away With It?

Aug. 27, 2013

Several years ago I began to notice how many people buy into a disturbing fantasy.

First, I watched a dear friend jump into a sinful and dangerous relationship. She tried to numb her guilt through drugs, alcohol and self-injury, in escalating amounts of each. She ended up losing her job and her freedom—first in a hospital, then a psych ward, and then months in a rehab facility that consumed every penny of her considerable savings. Later she confessed to me, “I thought I could get away with it.”

This summer I served over a month on a jury for a drug conspiracy trial. (I blogged about that here.) After we found all four defendants guilty, the judge came to talk to us and answer our questions. We learned that a large number of co-conspirators indicted along with these defendants had all pled guilty. The judge confirmed to us that these four had “rolled the dice,” hoping to persuade a jury that they were unjustly charged. Why didn’t these men plead guilty? They thought they could get away with it.

Thinking we can get away with it happens a lot, from speeding to not declaring everything on our tax returns to the U.S. government monitoring its citizens’ phone conversations.

And this fantasy—this LIE—goes back a long way. All the way to the Garden of Eden, when the serpent scoffed at God’s rule about not eating from the forbidden tree of the knowledge of good and evil. “Surely you will not die!” (Gen. 3:4) In today’s language: “C’mon, you can get away with it!”

But, being sneaky, the enemy of our souls (and his minions who are the spirits who actually tempt us with lies) uses first person to make us think his thoughts are actually our own, so we are not aware of the source of our temptation: “I can get away with this.”

God has something to say about this lie. One of my favorite Bible verses, particularly when my sons were small, is Numbers 32:23: “Be sure your sin will find you out.”

There were three four-year-olds on our street including my son. One of them, a heartbreakingly sexually precocious little girl, said to Kevin one day, “Let’s go behind this bush next to my house, take off our clothes and kiss.” When he said no, she insisted, “It’s okay. Jordan (the other four-year-old) and I did it yesterday, and no one will know.” Kevin said, “But God will see us, and He’ll tell my mommy!”

Back to God’s opinion. Jesus said in Mark 4:22, “Everything that is hidden will eventually be brought into the open, and every secret will be brought to light.” In Luke 12:3, He said, “Whatever you have said in the dark will be heard in the light, and what you have whispered in private rooms will be proclaimed fom the housetops.”

Paul wrote in Galatians 6:7, “Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap.”

No, we can’t get away with it. That’s a truth that can keep us out of a lot of trouble!

This blog post originally appeared at blogs.bible.org/tapestry/sue_bohlin/think_you_can_get_away_with_it




“Accepting Jesus as Your Savior Means You Won’t Have to Suffer Bad Karma Anymore?”

I have friends who believe that people will suffer bad karma from past lives and it will be carried over to this life. Now, I read in the Bible that if you accept Jesus Christ as your Savior and ask him for forgiveness with a sincere heart, He will wipe away your imperfections and you won’t have to suffer “bad karma” anymore. Is this correct? If not, then what’s the point of asking for forgiveness? Isn’t this what Christ died on the cross for? I need the truth because it will set me free.

What Eastern religions call karma is the Bible’s principle that “a man reaps what he sows” (Galatians 6:7). God created a cause-and-effect universe where our choices have consequences.

In the Eastern systems, each person has to work off his own bad karma. . . over and over and over, through as many lifetimes as it takes. In contrast, the Bible offers the marvelous gift of forgiveness and grace (God’s blessing that we don’t deserve) through Jesus Christ. You are right that Jesus takes away the guilt of our sins and the eternal punishment of being separated from God forever. However, although forgiveness takes away the obstacle of sin that separates us from friendship with God, it does not take away the consequences of our choices. In the same way that a parent disciplines his child because he loves him, God allows us to suffer the consequences of our choices so that it builds character and helps us to grow and mature and become wise.

Christ died on the cross to reconcile us to God, but He does not take away the effects of our choices. For example, let’s say I steal something from a store. Stealing is a sin, and I then confess it to God, who forgives me because Jesus paid for that sin on the Cross, but He will still let me experience the shame and humiliation of being arrested and having to go to trial and then jail. My relationship with God has been restored, but I still have to experience the consequences of my actions. In the process, He will develop my character and help me to grow from this painful experience, making me more mature and less selfish, preparing me for this life and my life in heaven. But once I die, it’s all behind me, forgiven and never to be suffered again.

Does this make sense?

Sue Bohlin

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