I still remember the pain.
One morning in the late 70's I woke up here in Sumter and hurt like I never have before. Even though this happened years ago in my childhood, it is still fresh in my mind. Pain racked my body, and I cried. My parents took me to the doctor that morning and I wound up at Toumey Hospital. After running tests, they discovered I had salmonella, which is a type of food poisoning. After a few days, I got better and went home.
But here's the interesting thing: We learned that turtles carry salmonella. And I had a turtle in the backyard as a pet. So after that day, I never touched a turtle again.
I'm 45 years old. And I still won't ever touch a turtle. Ever. This is because it led me to pain.
The way I am about turtles is a small example of how we all should feel about sin. Why? Because sin leads to a different kind of pain.
(1). Sin can enslave us. We know this from John 8:34, which reads "everyone who commits sin is a slave to sin."
(2). Sin can pull us farther from God. We know this from Isaiah 59:2, which reads "your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God, and your sins have hidden His face from you so that He does not hear."
(3). Sin can destroy us. We know this from Romans 6:23, which reads "the wages of sin is death."
I know what it's like to sin. Believe me. I've thought, said, and done things I'll never write or talk about. But I can tell you this: Sin has never been good for me. Never. What it did was lead me to various forms of pain and regret.
Why does God warn us away from sin? Not to bore us. He warns us because He loves us, and He wants to protect us from the pain which results from sin.
Even though I'll never do it, I suppose I could pick up a turtle, wash my hands thoroughly afterwards, and have no problems. That is possible. But when it comes to sin, that's just not the case. It will always lead to pain or regret in one form or another. It'll never lead to good things.
May God help us all to stay away from things which are evil and wrong today.
And may God forgive us, out of His love and grace, for the sin in our lives.