The Oneida Daily Dispatch (Oneida, NY)
How Long Can You Go?
“He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.”
—Micah 6:8 NIV
Have you ever tried to see how long you can go without sinning, without a single bad or unkind word, action, or thought? Even if you can control your tongue and your actions, you will probably find it impossible to control your thoughts. Our thoughts naturally turn toward sin, as we are apt to think unkind things about the very people we live and work with. And even if we can keep from thinking unkind or hostile thoughts about others, how long before lascivious thoughts pop into our heads. Most of us count it as a moral victory when we simply refrain from acting on our sinful thoughts and desires. All of this might lead us to wonder if the human race isn’t totally depraved. The psalmist cries to God for mercy, saying “Do not bring your servant into judgment, for no one living is righteous before you.” (Psalm 143:2 NIV) What gives us hope is that God is merciful and loving and his patience and forgiveness knows no bounds. The apostle Paul suggests that the law was given that we might be conscious of our depravity, and that God’s mercy might save us: “For God has bound everyone over to disobedience so that he may have mercy on them all.” (Romans 11:32 NIV) So what are we to do? We cannot just give in to sin, but must continue to fight the good fight, struggling every day to live lives of purity and righteousness, hoping that we can do a little better every day.