This week we read in the news that the son of a retired NBA great is facing multiple charges, after allegedly attempting to run his ex-girlfriend over with a car. It’s embarrassing, humiliating and heartrending for any father to hear a story about his son like that.
It’s one thing to persevere in the face of conflict in sports arenas and quite a different thing to create conflict through the chaos of irresponsible behavior, like the son of an NBA great did.
I believe we all have and experience a reality of something inside of our personhood summoned from an unseen place and becomes apparent for all to see. It is the presence of a force having the potential to activate evil or bad—as we choose to release it. Let me ask some questions to support such a thing.
Is it possible for a person to achieve levels of greatness, as society frames it and yet sink into the depths of commonness, or the ordinariness of being a sinner? Must we have evidence that only the naked eye can see, before we say the source of our lost-ness is real? Why is it that humanity accepts data like DNA (something no one can see until researched) to reveal culpability? So is it possible everything about our humanity can’t be measured only by what we see? Are these fair questions?
I was talking to a good friend last night about many subjects where we can only say God knows. It’s like He says, here is my creation. Go and find out everything about it, as if it’s the first time it’s ever been discovered. For instance, the unseen principle of electricity built into my creation now becomes seen, so earth is illuminated and you can go from megaphones, to the telephone, to I Phones and the internet.
I’m 66 and been through all of that!
James addresses the unseen reality of sin in chapters one and four. The fact of conflict among the saints in his writings should come as no surprise to us. We find the disciples arguing among themselves in the Gospels about who was the greatest. We find divisions and lawsuits among the Corinthian saints. Even a wonderful church at Philippi had two women who were at odds with each other.
If we think that we are incapable of any other sin, we deceive ourselves.
Here are two principles I believe James teaches. First, we must admit that there is no sin of which the saint is incapable. Second, the path of sin released inevitably leads to some form of devastation in us and to others.
Brent Curtis authored The Sacred Romance and talks about our divided hearts trying to meet the sacred longings within us by filling them with other, more readily available pleasures. When believers choose that, the force of sin overpowers our will and as Jonathan Edwards said, becomes like a viper, hissing and spitting at God.
Such is the source of sin we’re responsible for. We must respect that reality if we’re going to move into relationships with love.