Doc Dobbins had a great saying about sin that bears repeating. It is a warning about the nature of sin that helps those who will “hear and heed” to avoid needless complications and pain:”SIN TAKES YOU FARTHER THAN YOU WANTED TO GO, KEEPS YOU LONGER THAN YOU WANTED TO STAY, AND MAKES YOU PAY MORE THAN YOU WANTED TO PAY.” Unfortunately, most of us could say “Amen” to this based on our own experience, and what we’ve seen in the lives of those we know.
Sin is something we all know about. The Bible makes it clear we’ve all done it (Romans 3:23). As such, we all need forgiveness and grace. Even though we can freely seek forgiveness for sins, we’re better off avoiding it as much as possible to begin with.
We are better off to avoid sin in the first place, because sin causes complication and pain in life that become greater than we were originally created to handle. Many times, such complications and pain linger long after we have been freely forgiven by God.
Think about it in your own life. Many of your sins have eventually either complicated things to a dysfunctional level, caused you pain, or both. This realization can help motivate us to avoid sin in the first place.
There are indeed “benefits” to sin…whether it be pleasure, some sort of gain, whatever. The Bible doesn’t deny that sin brings benefits. It’s just that scripture makes it clear that any benefits are short-lived.( Hebrews 11:25).
So, if sin is so common to us, and we all agree it complicates life, or causes pain, how can we avoid it in the first place? One helpful practice is identified in Dr. Henry Cloud’s book: “Nine Things You Simply Must Do.”
In this book, which is Dr. Cloud’s version of “7 Habits of Highly Successful People,” one of the 9 things is to have the habit in life of remembering to “Play the Movie Forward.” In other words, think ahead to the answer to the question, “What are the likely outcomes if I do this?”
WOW…how many stupid (sinful) mistakes could we have avoided, and how much pain and complication could we have saved ourselves, if we had just “Played it forward?” first.