Pastor Idleman tells many tales of people who minimize their actions as a defense mechanism against the guilt of their sin but as a Sunday school teacher, I want to share some information from Pastor Warren Wiersbe that fits in well with Chapter 8 of AHA. Pastor Wiersbe has a list of “Immortal Lies” from his book Being a Child of God.
He begins his list with a quote from Mark Twain who said “that a truth is not hard to kill and that a lie told well is immortal.”
“God doesn’t really mean what he says” is one of the oldest lies ever told [back to The Garden]. God’s rules are pretty evident in The Bible but somehow people want to find a way around them. Have you ever argued with someone and they used the “that’s your interpretation” defense? What that defense is, is just an excuse for them doing what they want to do.
“I can get away with it” is a lie based on contemporary society where people think they can lie, cheat, steal and even murder and not suffer consequences. God does sometimes delay executing a just sentence to give people time to repent and people will use this delay to sin even more. One can never know when God will lose patience and call for an accounting. When that happens, we will not “get away with it.”
“I’ll only do it once” is the approach satan used with Jesus. Satan told Jesus that he could have the world if He would fall down and worship satan. It is based on the old Lays Potato Chip slogan, “can you just eat one?” Can you really just eat one and stop?
“Everybody’s doing it” is the bandwagon fallacy. It is reasoning through justification. Since the whole world is involved in this sin, it must be right. First of all, can one prove that everyone is doing the sin? Secondly, just because a large number of people are sinning, does that make it right? I don’t think so.
“I can make up for it somewhow” is the idea that sin only hurts the one who is commiting it. No matter how much you argue this, you can never know what you are doing to your family, friends and neighbors through your sinning. Pastor Wiersbe tells a tale of his youth. He was walking downtown in his community one night with his parents and they passed by a tavern. Two men were arguing on the street. One was saying “don’t go in there. Think of your family. Think about what you are going to do to them!” The other man did not listen. He went in, saying “I’ll make it up to them somehow.” Pastor Wiersbe says that “the idea that the consequences of deliberate sin can be wiped out by gifts and the memory forgotten was born in hell.” We never sin alone; what we do always involves others.
Lastly, “nobody will know about it” is the lie of character. Everyone knows we have a reputation. That is based on public behavior, what everyone sees us do in our public lives. Character is what you do “behind closed doors” and minimizers have the attitude that if I don’t get caught, I have not sinned. Well God knows about it and you know you have sinned. Pastor Wiersbe says today’s added commandment is “thou shalt not get caught.” In other words, until a person is caught, no sin has been committed.
In Chapter 8, Pastor Idleman focuses on minimization as a way to deal with sin, but what he is really saying is that people who minimize don’t pay enough attention to the erosion of their character. Erosion is most often a slow process of removing soil and rock from one location to another by the steady movement of water over the surface of the earth. It is hard to see because we can’t stand over the surface and watch for long periods of time. However, what happens when we leave a location and return days later to the eroded location? The ground has changed. The consequences have caused change.
The imortal lies have taken their toll.