Sin is more than just actions, and the sin in the heart will remain regardless of circumstances. However, the outward actions are somewhat influenced, among believers and nonbelievers alike, in the presence of others.
I think we have forgotten in our day what it means to be ashamed. America sees it as a bad thing. The public tells us we need to improve our self-esteem. We need to think better of ourselves. Don’t be ashamed. Stand up for yourself and your rights. Well, the Bible never says that. We should be ashamed when we sin. We should feel not just inconvenienced, and annoyed at getting caught, but shame. Dictionary.com offers this definition: “the painful feeling arising from the consciousness of something dishonorable, improper, ridiculous, etc.”
And so to remove the shame that there should be in our life, we do several things. One of these things is that we try to get others to join us in our sin. If the people around you all recognize your sin for what it is, then you will be more inclined toward feeling the shame you should feel. However, if you can surround yourself with people that will not only be accepting, but also participate in your sin, all the better.
Sinners love company. Sin does not want to be alone. The devil that leaves the man, and walks about, doesn’t just return to the man. First he finds several other devils and then returns to the man. Sinners want company. Proverbs 1 tells us not to listen when sinners entice us. If the warning must be issued to us to not consent, it is a sure thing that the sinners will try. They will try to catch us in their ploys, sinister or simple.
Skipping church is not a sinister plot. It is not a long thought out plan on doing evil. It just takes one person saying, “Hey, I don’t think I want to go tonight.” The person may be testing the water, even unwittingly. If the people around offer words of encouragement, and yet reproof, or maybe just by their continuing actions to prepare and to ask if there is anything that can be done to help will cause that person to think twice. It may be that the person changes his mind and decides to come to church by the witness and faithful testimony of those around.
But, let one person around say, “Yeah, I guess I’ll stay too.” Or “Yeah, Pastor is just going to talk about the same things again.” Or, “I understand, I don’t want to, but I have to.” Anything at all somewhat accepting and they have their excuse.
Sinners want others to sin with them. They don’t always think it is sin. They don’t have to be laying wait for blood. They could just want to have help in the small sins. It could be the dirty jokes that everyone laughs at. It could be the inappropriate language that is always ignored instead of spoken out against. It could be so many little things.
We are to be light and salt. We are to stand against these things. Peer pressure overwhelms us at times. When the sinners outnumber those wanting to do right, it is hard to say something. I have fallen to it. I remember as a kid with other kids, we were hiding from one in particular. There was no reason except we were being mean. It wasn’t a game, we thought we were being cool because we were hiding from him, and he was all by himself wanting to play with us. I wish I could say that I got convicted and stood up for him, and did the right thing. It was my brother who did the right thing.
When he said something, then everyone did the right thing. It took one voice to change behavior. Maybe they did it because they were afraid he would tell their parents, or maybe because it was right. But the right actions followed.
Sinners want company, but when you stand up among the sinners and do right, and speak for righteousness, the affect you can have is huge. Too often we are afraid because we don’t want to be called the “goody-two-shoes” or mocked, but more often than we know, others are just waiting for someone to take a stand so they don’t have to participate in sin.
Sinners love company, but the righteous love company too. Stand up against sin today. Stand up for something right today.