Sin and Suffering

Does our general sinfulness bring about tragic circumstances in our lives?  Of course, there are times when our sins cause us to suffer and deservedly so.  If someone drinks too much, drives illegally, gets caught and goes to jail, they’re getting what they deserve.  Why should they cry out, “Why me?!?”  If someone cheats on their spouse, gets caught and loses their family because of their sin, why should they wonder, “What did I do to deserve this?!?”  If someone steals from their employer, gets caught and gets fired, why should they question God and say, “Why are You punishing me?!?”  Our sins may have direct and very unpleasant consequences.  God is sometimes merciful and keeps us from the potentially deadly consequences of our sins.
But what about those whose sins are not the direct cause of their suffering.  Jesus cites two examples in Luke 13:1-9 where people suffered, not because of their sin, but because we live in a broken world.  Let’s face it, the world is broken.  While the brokenness of our world is a result of the sinfulness of humanity, not all suffering is directly related to some individual sin or is because someone is a worse sinner than anyone else.  We’re all guilty of sin!  But someone’s cancer isn’t necessarily caused by stealing one too many grapes at the market.  Getting laid off from one’s job doesn’t happen because someone was speeding on the way to work too often.  The tragic passing of someone’s child isn’t caused because someone is a worse sinner than their neighbor.
Sin is sin.  Sinners are sinners.  All sin, either directly or indirectly, leads to our suffering, and eventual death, in this life.  Jesus says, in today’s passage, that it is repentance that leads to life.  Without repentance, there can be no forgiveness.  Without repentance, there can be no eternal life.  Jesus tells a parable about God’s patience and our repentance.  2 Peter 3:9 (NIV) says:

The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.

God desires repentance from all people.  Why?  Because He
​…​wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. ​ – 1 Timothy 2:4 (NIV)​
God’s greatest desire is repentance from sin for the forgiveness of sin.  Let us examine our hearts today for those sins of which we need to repent.  Let us confess them to God and ask for His help with repenting from our many sins.

Luke 13:1-9 (NIV)

Repent or Perish

13 Now there were some present at that time who told Jesus about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mixed with their sacrifices. 2 Jesus answered, “Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans because they suffered this way? 3 I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish. 4 Or those eighteen who died when the tower in Siloam fell on them—do you think they were more guilty than all the others living in Jerusalem? 5 I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish.”

6 Then he told this parable: “A man had a fig tree growing in his vineyard, and he went to look for fruit on it but did not find any. 7 So he said to the man who took care of the vineyard, ‘For three years now I’ve been coming to look for fruit on this fig tree and haven’t found any. Cut it down! Why should it use up the soil?’

8 “‘Sir,’ the man replied, ‘leave it alone for one more year, and I’ll dig around it and fertilize it. 9 If it bears fruit next year, fine! If not, then cut it down.’”


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