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My dad, my brother, and I probably wouldn’t have minded ignoring the doorbell and enjoying our meal before heading off to our various evening activities, but my mom, being ever the social butterfly with perfect etiquette, surely was the one who drew us away from our dinner plates to answer the door and entertain our company. Little did we know what would happen.
By the time we got back inside from chatting with our unexpected guests, the little boy had joyfully parked his little behind down on my dad’s seat, enjoyed every single bite of my dad’s hamburger, and surely must have licked his little chops once he was done with his conquest – the stolen hamburger. Now if you wonder what biblical lesson could possibly come from a 38-year-old stolen hamburger, knowing that everything in my life revolves around my love for the Lord and endless passion to tell and teach the world about Him, rest assured there is in fact a remarkable lesson in this.
That little boy was too young and innocent to understand the implications of taking something that was not his. At most, he probably got a little reprimand and lesson about stealing from his parents. But more than likely, he licked his chops for the rest of the night over his hamburger conquest. For over 30 years now, my family has continued to remember that story – and sometimes to tell it. Who knows, the other family may well be telling the story – all in good humor.
But if you have ever studied the Bible and read the 10 commandments, you know that stealing is a sin. And there is nothing humorous about it. The Bible reveals to us clearly that we are all sinners, and that all sin leads to death and eternity in hell. But too many people are living their lives sinning in every way imaginable and unimaginable and licking their chops enjoying their juicy stolen hamburgers and believing the most they will ever get is being sent to their room for an hour and having a humorous stolen hamburger story to be passed down the generations.
How do I know? For two reasons. First, because I have been there. Before I believed in God and became a committed follower of Christ, I stole everything from extra food from my college cafeteria to toilet paper from my college bathrooms for my own shared apartment to paper supplies from a company in New York City where I worked and glasses and alcohol from bars. And the stuff I stole was only a little piece of all my varied, chronic, despicable sins. It was all a bunch of hamburgers to me. How so? I had NO remorse. NONE. I wasn’t only doing something illegal as far as the stealing was concerned, and stuff that was totally immoral, depraved, and utterly sin as far as the other stuff was concerned. I was sinning against God, and didn’t even know it! The only thing I knew is I thoroughly enjoyed it and knew good and well I would keep living my life for my own pleasure and licking my chops every time I made a conquest of one sin or another.
How else do I know? Because I meet and know people who are doing the very same thing. I met a man who justified his stealing by explaining he needs supplies for the baby he had out of wedlock who lives with its mother. I met a woman who believes she deserves to steal so she can get what she feels she wants, needs, and deserves. I know a woman who stole herself and her children away from her husband through adultery and ultimately divorce.
Do you want to know what is the common denominator in all this? No compunction. No remorse. No repentance. No real change. Just continued sin. Sin, sin, sin. Justified sin. Licking your chops over a stolen hamburger kind of living. And do you know something? Just as I foolishly so believed years ago before I became a sincere follower of Christ, this world believes that so long as it is getting away with its stealing and endless other sins against God right now, this will be the case forever.
Jails and prisons have revolving doors on them, it seems to many. And even death row releases some of its own. And then there are all those who aren’t going to jail at all for their sins – or having any kind of consequences whatsoever for other sins, or so it seems. Their adultery isn’t being found out. Their pornography is kept a perfect secret. Their prescription drug abuse is hiding behind the disguise of, “the doctor prescribed all these drugs.” The abortion doesn’t matter because the baby didn’t have a stocking for its first Christmas yet. The incest from 35 years ago doesn’t count because only the survivor of it knows; nobody else does. The homosexuality isn’t a sin because even if it’s a sin according to God in the Bible, the courts keep supporting it. The policeman who wrongfully killed a suspect will never be held accountable because the courts are on his side. The emaciated dog chained up to a tree in somebody’s back yard is not the fault of its owner because animal control hasn’t found out about it. And on and on – and on.
There are four great tragedies in all this:
1. Our sins are against God, and HE KNOWS every single one of them regardless of how much we try to justify our sins, no matter what the court systems do and don’t do, and no matter who ever or does not find out our sins.
2. We are ALL headed to eternal torment in hell separated from God forever because of our sins because we as sinners cannot be in the presence of God who is perfectly holy and righteous. LICKING OUR CHOPS is temporal; hell is FOREVER.
3. Our wicked pride and refusal to confess our sins and repent of them is keeping us from the GREATEST GIFT in the entire universe. GOD. For He loves us SO MUCH He sent His only begotten Son Jesus Christ to the cross to PAY THE PRICE for our wickedness so that if we repent of our sins and believe in Him as Lord, we will be forgiven, enter into a relationship with God, and be promised everlasting life. This is known as being born again and saved.
4. Being born again gives us a new beginning, but it MUST be followed up with a commitment to follow Christ, to read the Bible and to live what it teaches us, and to leave behind our old ways and to learn to live according to God’s ways. What is the TRAGEDY in this? The tragedy is that like I did for a long time, too many people who profess to believe in Christ are not leaving behind their old ways and following Him. And I have news for you. Jesus will say to some that though they profess His name, they will have to go away from Him because they have continued in their evil ways. Professing Christ is NOT enough. Genuine faith in Christ MUST be followed up by a new way of living. God’s way.
As the world becomes increasingly dark, and evil is more manifest than ever, we my friends need to stop LICKING OUR CHOPS over our sins. For the pleasure we think we’re getting in the moment, in our temporal lives, is just that. It’s but a moment. It’s temporal. Utterly fleeting. We need to set our eyes on the Lord – and on forever. It’s not worth a stolen juicy hamburger, a toilet paper roll from a public restroom to save a dollar, an adulterous affair because the new guy was more alluring than the husband who now had a roll of middle aged fat around his middle, the drugs that the doctor didn’t prescribe to be used in only three days, or whatever the particular sin is that we refuse to repent of, to give up the everlasting life in heaven with God we are offered if we repent, believe the Gospel, and follow the Lord Jesus Christ.
A loved one told me not so very long ago that her sin essentially isn’t sin because she doesn’t do the bad stuff some other people do. Oh, how deceived she is! How deceived I was for decades. Sin IS sin, and sin IS sin against God, and we are ALL sinners, and we ALL need to repent of our sins and turn unto the living God with a full-fledged commitment to live our lives no longer for ourselves and our own temporal juicy hamburger pleasures and live for HIM! Now I understand, and now I must tell the world what I have told you herein. For by the grace of the merciful only true God of the universe, I have come into the light.
Thou shalt not steal. Exodus 20:15
But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light: 1 Peter 2:9
1Jn 1:6 If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth:
1Jn 1:7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.
1Jn 1:8 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.
1Jn 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
1Jn 1:10 If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.
“And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel.” Mark 1:15
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