“If you remain in my word, you will truly be my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” They answered him, “We are descendants of Abraham and have never been enslaved to anyone. How can you say, ‘You will become free’?” Jesus answered them, “Amen, amen, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is a slave of sin. A slave does not remain in a household forever, but a son always remains. So if a son frees you, then you will truly be free. I know that you are descendants of Abraham. But you are trying to kill me, because my word has no room among you. I tell you what I have seen in the Father’s presence; then do what you have heard from the Father.” They answered and said to him, “Our father is Abraham.” Jesus said to them, “If you were Abraham’s children, you would be doing the works of Abraham. But now you are trying to kill me, a man who has told you the truth that I heard from God; Abraham did not do this. You are doing the works of your father!” So they said to him, “We were not born of fornication. We have one Father, God.” Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love me, for I came from God and am here; I did not come on my own, but he sent me.”( John 8:31-42)
What’s it like to sin? We know the answer to that question? Don’t we?
Or are we like the Pharisees in today’s Gospel? We don’t see the sin.
If I were to ask you to recite the ten commandments, most of you would be able to do so. If I were you ask you if a violation of those commandments was sinful. I venture to say that you would answer with a resounding “yes.”
But sin can be insidious. So insidious that we don’t see it. Or so alluring that we are charmed by it. That is the sin that enslaves us. So seductively that we fall into its arms and don’t recognize the cold embrace of its grasp.
You see it’s easy to see an overt betrayal of one of the commandments. But what about insidious sin? The sin of a person angered by life and who carries it throughout the day. Quick to protest. Quick to argue. Quick to become enraged. Quick to brow beat someone else. Quick to poison the environment because they are always angry or discontented.
What about the person in a position of church leadership – the one who is a constant victim and needs that position of leadership to validate herself/himself and uses that platform to judge, to criticize and point out the wrongs of another. Ever so quietly and adroitly. Isn’t it ironic that a minister of God not only violates the word of God and, worse, tries to use God as his/her banner carrier?
What about the person who uses sarcasm to belittle or demean but when confronted by its damage quickly claims that they were only joking (after the hurt is done to another). Or the parent who measures one child versus the other and slowly wears down the self-esteem of the child who doesn’t measure up. These and more are the instances when sin enslaves. These are deep behavioral patterns that take control, envelop and bring a person to a darker place.
Jesus tells us that the moment sin is committed, we are bound by it, and it entraps us. We no longer can see the truth clearly but view a distorted version of it. We are blinded by our own sinfulness and cannot see the truth of happiness and love. The hold of sin is so profound, that we cannot lift its power from our life.
The good news of the gospel is that Christ has set us free from the power of sin, slavery of selfishness, freedom from the fear of what others might think or say about us, and freedom from hurtful desires and the power of sin.
Through the power of his Holy Spirit we can choose to walk in His way of love and holiness. A disciple is a follower and a listener. If we listen to the words of Jesus, with a humble and teachable spirit, he will give us the grace and the power to follow in His way of holiness. Ask the Lord to open your ears to His word that you may be attentive to His voice.
Prayer of The Day
“Lord, write your words of love and truth upon my heart and make me a diligent student and a worthy disciple of your word.”
Perhaps you are like those in the Gospel, denying that you are trapped by sin; perhaps you don’t want to believe that you are enslaved. Examine your conscience and ask Jesus to help you return fully to His grace. Ask Jesus to help you love HIM and to be free.