Awhile back, I took MegaBus to visit parents in Atlanta. It was inexpensive so I boarded a blue double-decker, in time to get a front seat up top.
With my water and snacks, their WiFi and electricity, our long - out of the ordinary - journey began.
Five hours later, after stopping in Texarkana, we headed onward. About an hour from Memphis, I was invited into an unforgettable conversation with a few fellow travelers.
“What do you think preacher?” someone said, “We want to know what you think.”
“About gays in the church. We want to know what you think about gays in the choir? Gays playing the piano? Gays in the pulpit?”
Not knowing the context of their conversation and noticing a quiet man next to them, I answered cautiously, just in case they were bullying him.
“Sin in any church is a problem and since homosexuality is a form of fornication, let’s broaden the focus and talk about fornication in general; without singling out anyone’s particular issue.”
Not liking my response, the loudest one said, “We don’t want to talk about fornication!” He motioned toward the others in the group while continuing, “We are all fornicators here! We want to talk about those gays!”
Shocked by the silence that followed, from those not refuting this person who had just exposed their sin, I gently said something like, “Then we have a big problem and don’t have a leg to stand on when it comes to calling others to repentance.”
No doubt being embarassed and not wanting to hear anymore from me, someone changed the subject; so I turned back around to face the highway. Appalled at such hypocrisy, all I could think of was to search my own heart for the same inconsistancy.
While nearing Memphis, a person from that same conversation came forward to sit by me and quietly asked, “What can a person do if they try to repent and ask the Lord for His forgiveness but keep falling back into the same sin over and over again?”
Here is what my response included,
“Many times, when we find ourselves failing to fully repent, it could be because we are not going deep enough. In other words, true repentance often only occurs when we turn away from the roots of our sin, rather than just their fruits.”
“Maybe we repeat certain sins because we’re not dealing with their cause. We can fall prey to some temptations because of hidden fears or because we do not fully trust God.
“Others are overcome because of an unhealed hurt or some other issue, like anger or judging others harshly.”
“1 JOHN 1:9 promises, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” God forgives our sins but what is the unrighteousness we need cleansing from?”
Before we parted ways in Memphis, she was encouraged by life-giving truth.