Have you ever seen this?
Ever touched it?
Ever breathed it?
Probably not. Because if you have ever inhaled this little microbe, you'd probably not be able to sit there and read this blog post.
The above picture is commonly referred to as the hantavirus. It's a small airborne pathogen infecting it's victims when they take a deep breath of contaminated air. Once ingested, the virus goes to work and begins to compromise your pulmonary system. If left untreated, you eventually suffocate and die.
I know it's a pretty bleak picture, but it's the law of nature.
This virus is DEADLY!
Can you imagine if someone were able to collect the virus in a tube?
What if they walked around with the tube open? On the bus? In the Subway? At the playground? Maybe the halls of your kids school?
Would you be angry?
What would you do to stop it?
I was reading in Matthew 18 again this morning, and Jesus was continuing to explain the severity of sin caused when we intentionally or un-intentionally cause people to stumble, and I was moved again.
I wonder how serious we take the sin in our lives?
Sure we ask for forgiveness.
We ask our friends how to help.
But, sometimes I wonder if we've reduced the severity of sin to an apple on a tree a few thousand years ago.
It's 'their' problem.
If only 'they' would have listened to God.
And all the while, we just keep on wallowing in sin, not knowing who it may infect.
Jesus said it like this, "Woe to the world
because of the things that cause people to sin! Such things must come,
but woe to the man through whom they come! If
your hand or your foot causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away.
It is better for you to enter life maimed or crippled than to have two
hands or two feet and be thrown into eternal fire. And
if your eye causes you to sin, gouge it out and throw it away. It is
better for you to enter life with one eye than to have two eyes and be
thrown into the fire of hell." (Matthew 18:7-9)
I'm pretty sure Jesus thought sin to be a serious deal.
But the beauty of the Christian story…there's an antiviral cure.
John said, "If you confess your sin, He is faithful and just to forgive you of sin, and cleanse you of all unrighteousness." (1 John 1:9)
In other words, the virus that might infect you…
Or the tube you're carrying around infecting other people…
Are BOTH FORGIVEN.
We must be a people who recognize sin, and know it's effect.
We can't be people who are continuing to cause others to stumble.
We need to know the forgiveness God can give, and the mercy He has to offer.
It's the pivotal most beautiful concept I've come to know of the faith I believe.