Could You Forgive a Murderer?

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Inside Job

God can set anyone free from inner pain and unforgiveness.

I pulled my baking sheet out of the oven and inhaled the sweet scent of chocolate chip cookies. When I bit into a warm one, my tears came — again. These cookies were bound for the male inmates in one of our state prisons.

Would one of the three men who’d killed my husband be eating them? I hoped so. But I never would have believed that thought was possible.

Disturbing call

On September 27, 2005, my twenty-year-old son, Brandon, left a message at work for me to call him. I presumed he wanted to talk about a job interview he’d had that day.

I was wrong. Without explanation, he said, “Auntie Dawn is coming to get you.”

My heart froze. “Why is my sister picking me up?”

Brandon dodged my questions, but right before he hung up, he said, “Don’t worry, Mom. I’ll take care of you.”

My stomach lurched. I thought of calling my husband, Kim, but started shaking. What if something had happened to him? I pressed my hand over my mouth and ran to the restroom.

Horrible news

My sister arrived, her eyes red and puffy. “Where’s Kim?” I grabbed her hand. “Is he dead?”

She nodded. The room swirled, and I collapsed into her arms with a gut-wrenching scream. How could my husband be dead? I’d talked with him on the phone during lunch. Didn’t Kim say he’d left work early and was home? We’d joked and laughed.

Was it a heart attack? What if the gun he’d been cleaning for the hunting season had accidentally gone off? His final words — “I love you, darling” — squeezed my heart.

I leaned against my sister and urged her, “Get me home!”

Crime scene

Yellow caution tape sealed off my street. I stretched my neck to see beyond the police cars with their flashing blue lights. “Where’s my son?” I cried, pacing back and forth. “I want my son!”

Just then, Brandon ran up to me. Chests heaving, we clung to each other and wept. My son told me he’d come home and found Kim, his stepdad, lying on the basement floor in a pool of blood. He’d been beaten and shot in the head. Many of our electronics and guns were gone, including the handgun used to kill my husband.

My mind reeled. Who could be so cruel?

Intense emotions

Two days passed before the police allowed me to go into my home. I was numb as they escorted me through the house and questioned me. When I entered our master bedroom, I gasped. The blue-gray T-shirt Kim wore the last time I’d seen him was splayed across our bed.

I grabbed the shirt — the closest thing to hugging Kim — and breathed in his clean scent. Tears flooding my eyes, I slumped like a rag doll on the bed and wept.

Unsettled

After Kim’s funeral, I moved back into the house with Brandon. We installed a burglar alarm, but it didn’t alleviate our fears. What if the murderer was someone we knew? I kept the alarm’s panic button with me at all times.

Nights were the worst. Unable to sleep, my mind searched for answers. I listened for the slightest sound, rushed to Brandon’s bedside whenever nightmares woke him up and he needed me. My only comfort was prayer and Deuteronomy 31:6: “Be strong and courageous . . . for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you” (NIV).

A year after Kim’s death, the handgun was found, leading to the arrest of three men. However, relief morphed into impatience as I waited another year and a half for the trial.

Desiring justice

During that time, Kairos Prison Ministry came to our church to organize an intensive weekend Bible study at one of our state prisons. They asked for volunteers to bake cookies for the prisoners.

I crossed my arms. I hadn’t baked cookies since Kim’s death. And I wasn’t going to bake them for some criminal. My back stiffened as I leaned against the cushioned pews. Preach the gospel if you like, but I want justice.

Panic and pain

I rushed out of church and drove home. Although the men were behind bars, I double-bolted the door and threw my car keys on the granite kitchen counter. They landed with a clanking thud next to a package of store-bought cookies.

Bake cookies? I breathed deep and listened to Christian praise music to calm my nerves. Lord, it’s going to take more than a batch of cookies to soften my heart.

Facing the enemy

And then I had to face my enemy. For seven days in September 2008 I sat in the courtroom behind the two men who killed my husband, and stared at the back of their heads. The third man had already pled guilty and testified at the trial.

As I listened to the prosecuting attorney, I learned the men had needed money, mistook our house for someone else’s, and thought the place was empty.

“If only’s” replayed in my head. If only the seventeen-year-old who pulled the trigger had stayed in school that day. If only they’d entered our neighbor’s house, my husband would still be alive. If only Kim’s pistol had been in the gun safe.

Tears and anger

I’d never seen the crime scene photographs until the trial. Now, seeing the horror of Kim’s final moments crushed my heart. I wept countless tears. My anger grew. I kept waiting for the men to face me. Beg for my forgiveness.

Even when I was on the witness stand and excused myself because I became sick to my stomach, their cold, dark eyes stared straight ahead as though I were invisible.

Verdict

The jury found the men guilty of first-degree murder, and they each received a life sentence.

End of story, or so I thought. Negative thoughts consumed me. I tried to forget the past for the sake of my family and health. I even volunteered to bake cookies for Kairos Prison Ministry.

Painful prayer

As I stirred the chocolate chips into the dough, tears rolled down my cheeks. What would Kim say if he saw me baking cookies for convicted felons? I wiped my eyes and set the oven timer. Lord, make my spirit as sweet as these cookies. Use them for Your glory.

As the scent of chocolate chip cookies filled the kitchen, I prayed for the men who killed my husband. I prayed for them by name. They weren’t evil men. The poor decisions they’d made in life became a domino effect that led to Kim’s death. Now they suffered the consequences.

Maybe I could forgive them, but my heart needed more time than it took to bake several dozen cookies.

Unforeseen answer

My prayers were answered, but not in the way I expected. My son had become addicted to prescription pain pills he’d taken for a sports injury, and he wanted something stronger to purge the memory of finding his murdered stepfather on the floor.

Six years to the day of Kim’s death, Brandon was arrested for the possession of illegal drugs. He called me from jail. His breathless voice quivered like a frightened child’s. “Mom, get me out of here.”

Tough visit

I couldn’t get there fast enough. When I saw the dark circles under his hollow eyes, my body swayed; I had to look away. A thick glass window separated us, and we used a phone to hear each other.

I offered to post bail, provided he went to a Christian rehabilitation program. Brandon agreed but realized it would take about a month to get accepted.

When our visitation ended, Brandon stood up to leave and looked back at me over his sunken shoulders. His pleading eyes, filled with despair, yanked my heart. I bowed my head and sobbed. I loved my son, but only the Lord could save him. He needed God’s grace — the same way I did.

New compassion

I thought of the other men sitting in prison. Where was their hope? Did they know about God’s grace?

Visiting my son in jail roused my compassion for prisoners. In addition to baking cookies, I hosted an annual hayride and invited the community to bring toys for the Angel Tree Program.

Granting forgiveness

But my heart wouldn’t rest until I wrote the men who murdered my husband.

“God loves you, regardless of what you’ve done,” I said. “I’ve forgiven you, and God’s willing to forgive you if you turn to Him.”

The following month, I gasped when I opened my mailbox and saw the envelope’s return address. My hands shook as I read the prisoner’s neat, handwritten letter. “I’m sorry for all the pain I caused you and your family. Thank you, Wendi, for your letter. I prayed for a sign that I’d been forgiven.”

I clutched the letter to my chest. How long had I waited for an apology? As if “I’m sorry” could ease the pain. All along, this man had been praying and waiting too. The young man who pulled the trigger also replied with heartfelt words that made me weep. God had been working in all our lives to heal, redeem, restore.

Sharing a story

When another organization, Forsyth Prison Ministry, asked for volunteers to participate in their services at Cherry State Prison, my hand went up. On a summer evening in 2014, I walked through the metal detector of that prison with a plate of cookies and a heart filled with praise. The next year, I shared my story.

My knees wobbled like Jell-O as I stepped in front of a hundred inmates. Their eyes widened as I described Kim’s ghastly death and how that led to my son’s drug addiction. I told them I’d forgiven the men who killed my husband and continued to write them. Some inmates wiped their eyes. Others slowly shook their heads.

“For all have sinned and fallen short of God’s glory,” I said, referencing Romans 3:23. “No one is beyond God’s love and grace.”

The men gathered around me to shake my hand when I finished speaking. I longed to ignore the prison rules and hug them.

Slow process

People ask how I could forgive the men who killed my husband. Sometimes, I ask myself that question when I see Kim’s shirt tucked in my dresser drawer. Or when I bake chocolate chip cookies for prison ministry.

I tell them God’s love softened my heart, one batch of cookies at a time.

by Wendi Johnson as told to Karen Foster

Link: https://karenfosterministry.com/2017/01/09/could-you-forgive-a-murderer/

The Bilbe Advocate Press: http://nowwhat.cog7.org/inside-job/

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He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved;

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“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son,

that whosoever believeth in him should not perish,

but have everlasting life.” John 3:16

Jeremiah was a young lad when God approached him. He felt he was too young to accept the work God had planned for him (Jeremiah 1:6). He became a mighty prophet. I get excited when I see the Lord working among the youth of our day. We have had several young men and women give there heart to God in the past year. Our youth group has had as many as 50+ on Wednesday evenings. God is working, and will continue to work if we passionately  honor Him, and fervently pray over our children and youth.

One night in the month of April Tyler Creswell approached his Dad and step-mom and asked what he had to do to be saved. He had been thinking about it for a while, and was ready to give his heart to Lord. Pastor Doug was called; he arrived and discussed Tyler’s decision; Tyler gave his heart totally to God right there in his living room. Praise God! The next week Tyler stood before the Church body and shared his salvation with us. Sunday, May 1st, we were also honored to witness Tyler’s baptism.

Let’s pray that young men and women like Tyler will be moved by the Holy Spirit and become mighty warriors for the Gospel.

“Also I say unto you, Whosoever shall confess me before men,

him shall the Son of man also confess

before the angels of God:” Luke 12:8

Tyler Confess His Salvation before the church.

Tyler Confess His Salvation before the church.

Tyler Confesses His Salvation Before the Church

Tyler now understand the meaning of Baptism and his sharing it with us.

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Beth Scarbrough was driving home from the Wednesday night service when she pulled over to the side of the road and started crying. The Holy Spirit had been tugging at her heart and she knew it was time to repent and ask God’s forgiveness. She didn’t wait until the next time she went to church; no, she turned around in the middle of Highway 51 and drove back. She went right in and told Brother Doug what had happened and he introduced her to Jesus that very night. WoW! What a testimony of the faith. Beth was baptized on May 1st as well. Welcome to the family Beth.

Beth Scarbrough shares Her Confession of Faith in Baptism

Beth Scarbrough shares Her Confession of          Faith in Baptism

“Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men,

him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven.”

Matthew 10:32

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Worship Him With A Thankful heart!

Unless You Be born Again. . .

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Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.”   Matthew 28:19, 20

Blake Bitner gave his heart to the Lord and wanted to be baptized at the age of 6.

Blake Bitner gave his heart to the Lord and was excited to be baptized at the age of 6.

 “For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.”  Galatians 3:27

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Jenny Benson

“Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins.  And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”

Acts 2:38

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Brandon Benson

Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection: Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.”      Romans 6: 3-6

Bells of Faith

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“The Mustard Seed seeks to meet the spiritual, physical, emotional, and intellectual needs of adults with developmental disabilities by providing a loving and protected Christian community with meaningful activities that allow the participants to fulfill the potential that God has created within them.”

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This Christmas season we were blessed with what Pastor Doug called musical angels. The family from Mustard Seed inspired us with their “Bells of Faith” concert. We were truly blessed by their musical abilities.

Thank You Mustard Seed!

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“. . .If the world hate you.”

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“Marvel not, my brethren, if the world hate you.” 1 John 3:13

ROSEBURG, Ore., Oct 1 (Reuters) – A gunman stalked onto an Oregon college campus on Thursday and opened fire, killing nine people and wounding seven before police shot him to death, authorities said, in yet another burst of U.S. gun violence that ranked as the deadliest this year. Stacy Boylan , the father of an 18-year-old student who was wounded but survived by playing dead, told CNN his daughter recounted her professor being shot point blank as the assailant stormed into the classroom. The massacre in Roseburg, a former timber town on the western edge of the Cascades some 260 miles (420 km) south of Portland, was the latest in a flurry of lethal U.S. mass shootings in recent years.

I have checked many articles on this shooting. There seems to be a consensus that the authorities are “working to find” the shooters motive. Nine people die, many are wounded and the authorities don’t seem to be listening, even to those who were in the room with the shooter. I believe they don’t want to know, or perhaps do not want to tell the truth.

ROSEBURG, Ore. (Associated Press) — The grandmother of one of the Oregon shooting victims says her granddaughter told her the gunman was singling out students who said they were Christian. Janet Willis told The Associated Press her granddaughter, Anastasia Boylan, was in the classroom when the shooter opened fire Thursday at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg. Willis, who visited her granddaughter in the hospital, says Boylan told her the shooter was asking students about their faith. “If they said they were Christian, he shot them in the head . . .”

I don’t know about you, but it seems  the Oregon shooters motive was very clear—kill Christians. The gunman came prepared to kill as many who follow our Lord as possible. These brave young people stood their ground and sacrificed their lives because they believed in the grace Jesus had provided them by his redemption on the cross. This day they stood and announced, I am a Christian and took a bullet the head causing instantaneous death.

Did you hear what the student, who was wounded and in the hospital, said? I’ll repeat it for you. The “ . . . shooter was asking students about their faith. If they said they were Christian, he shot them in the head . . .”

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Several weeks ago our congregation stood in orange t-shirts that stated “I STAND WITH CHRISTIANS. The purpose was to show unity as a congregation to stand with those who have given their lives in the face of those who hate us simply because of our faith—simply because, like no other god, we follow the one and only living God who loves us. So many have died in the last few years because they love their Jesus. We take our stand, as a congregation, with other Christians.

Unlike when we are worshiping in our congregation, we are sometimes alone, and without the support of others. We are at a point where we face a personal decision. Such is the case at Umpqua (UHMP’-kwah) Community College. Others stood and watched as friends and classmates were murdered announcing their personal decision, knowing they would be asked next and understanding the consequence. If you stand in a place where you know you were going to die, simply because you are a Christian, I propose this question: When it is your turn to answer, how will you respond to the shooters demand, Are you a Christian? Now is your time. You have choice to make, life or certain death? It is your decision . . . only you can make it.

If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you. – John 15:18-19

Shall we go a step further and ask, will you STAND for Jesus? Have you given your life to Christ? These young people knew Him personally and announced their decision in the face of death. They were killed, but are now alive in Christ Jesus for eternity.

If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you: on their part he is evil spoken of, but on your part he is glorified. (1Peter 4:14, 16)

The Bible tells us that we are all dead in our sins and trespasses until we get saved and born again by accepting Jesus as our Lord and Savior – These young people at Umpqua were forgiven children of God. If you do not know Christ as your personal Savior would you determine today to give your life and heart to him? All you have to do is pray this simple prayer, with a sincere heart, and He will come to you:

Dear Father,
I now believe that Jesus Christ is Your only begotten Son, that He came to earth in the flesh and died on the cross to take away all of my sins. I believe that your son Jesus Christ then rose from the dead on the third day to give me this eternal life.

Lord Jesus, I confess to You all of the wrong and sinful things that I have ever done in my life. I ask that You please forgive me and wash away all of my sins by the blood that You have personally shed for me on the cross. I am ready to accept You as my personal Lord and Savior. I ask that You come into my life and live with me for all of eternity.

Thank You Jesus, I now believe that I am truly saved and born again. Amen.

Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. (James 4:8)

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Sinner’s Prayer adopted from:

http://www.forgivenessdiaries.com/sinnersprayer.html

 

 

When Grace Steps In

It was probably her giggling that drew my attention. Sentence diagramming really wasn’t all that funny as far as I knew.

It was early May and I was facing a class of sixteen inner-city kids in South Central Los Angeles. Though I had almost three years of teaching under my belt, this particular sixth grade class had pushed me to the limits of my patience far too many times, and I was more than ready to wave goodbye to them for the summer.

I had come a long way from the idealism of my first year of teaching and living in the inner city. That first year I’d covered up the bullet hole in the window with an inspirational poster. I’d plastered the walls with pictures of places worlds removed from the industrial buildings across the street. I told the kids daily that they had something worth saying and that I could help them say it. Together we would work hard and make something of their lives.

The problem, of course, was that my ideals kept crashing up against reality. Not just the spirit-deadening reality of the inner city — gang pressures, poverty, drug-destroyed families. I was also up against the basic, universal reality of the twelve- and thirteen-year-old mind. A mind with the switch tuned in almost permanently to the channel called “You can’t make me!”

And now I was faced with a giggle when I should have had only rapt attention. Walking over to the young offender, I asked for the note she had in her hands. Frozen, she refused to give it to me. I waited, all attention in the room on the quiet battle between teacher and student. When she finally handed it over she mumbled, “Okay, but I didn’t draw it,” the first clue that this wasn’t just an ordinary note being passed.

After getting the class going on a sentence diagramming competition, I finally had a chance to sneak a peek. It was a hand-drawn picture of me, dress details down to perfection, teeth blackened, nostrils flaring, and the words “I’m stupid” coming out of my mouth. The artist had done an amazing job and there was no doubt about who it was supposed to be.

I managed to fold up the picture calmly and return to directing the competition. My mind, however, was working furiously as I wavered between wanting to cry and wanting to ream a certain few students up one side and down the next. I figured I knew the two most likely candidates for drawing the picture. It would do them some good to get taken down a notch or two, and maybe it was high time that I did it!

Thankfully, that’s when Grace intervened.

Somehow, in those moments of very real hurt and fury, God was able to save me (and my students) from myself, by asking me very softly, “You want to do it your way, or My Way?”

I’d had almost three years of mostly trying to do it my way, and my head and my heart were really beginning to hurt from pounding against so many little twelve- and thirteen-year-old walls of resistance.

“Okay, Lord,” I silently prayed, “what should I do? How can you ever bring good out of this?”

With loving faithfulness, God showed me.

When there were about six minutes of class remaining I had the kids stop what they were doing and get out a piece of paper. Then, suppressing my pride, I showed them the picture. The whole class was silent as I told them how hurtful this was for me. Struggling not to cry, I told them there must be a reason behind why someone would draw such a picture and that now was their chance to tell me anything they needed to tell me. Then I let them write silently while I sniffled in the back of the classroom.

As I looked over the notes later, many of them said something like, “I’ve got nothing against you,” or “I’m sorry your feelings were hurt.” A number of them said, “You give us too much homework.” One student said, “We’re afraid of you.” And two notes, from the girls I figured were behind the picture, had a list of issues. I was too mean, too strict, and I picked on certain people too much.

Reading those notes, I realized that over the course of this year of slipshod work and incomplete assignments I had moved from being disappointed to being downright angry. Instead of encouraging my students, I had begun commanding them to achieve. I’d set high expectations without allowing for grace. Where I thought I was driving them to success I was actually driving them away.

I had some apologizing to do.

When the kids walked into my classroom the next day one boy and one girl each handed me a card. The one signed by all the boys expressed sincere regret for the ugly joke. The one from the girls asked for forgiveness.

I was dumbfounded. And more than a little humbled. I had my little speech all ready to give to the kids, but they’d beaten me to the punch. God had not only been busy softening my heart but also the hearts of my students.

If only I had let Him lead more often before this. If only this was the only time I would need to be taught this lesson.

It wasn’t. And with the help of this recalcitrant class, who I would also have as seventh and eighth graders, God gave me many more chances to learn just Who was better at teaching (and loving) inner-city kids.

Amy Morrison Chicken Soup for the Soul: Teacher Tales http://www.chickensoup.com/   Changing Lives One Story At A Time

 

The Spin About Sin Stops Here!

Sin is a condition of the heart.

Sermon Outline for August 2, 2015 ~ If you would like to hear the entire sermon go to the following link:

http://madisonmethodist.com/audio/sermons/message/the-spin-about-sin-stops-here

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Scripture Text: Genesis 3:9-17

And the Lord God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou? It is not a cry of a detective but of a broken heart.

10 And he said, I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself.

11 And he said, Who told thee that thou wast naked? Hast thou eaten of the tree, whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldest not eat?

12 And the man said, The woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat.

13 And the Lord God said unto the woman, What is this that thou hast done? And the woman said, The serpent beguiled me, and I did eat.

14 And the Lord God said unto the serpent, Because thou hast done this, thou art cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life:

15 And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.

16 Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee.

17 And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life;

Ten Never Changing Facts to Remember About Sin:

Sin is a willful act. Sin is a transgression against God. He calls us out of darkness and into His wonderful light.

1 John 3:4Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law.                                                                            John 8:10-11When Jesus had lifted up himself, and saw none but the woman, he said unto her, Woman, where are those thine accusers? hath no man condemned thee?                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1 John 2:1 My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous:                        1 Peter 2:9 – But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvelous light;

 Sin is a condition of the heart.

Psalm 51:5Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me.                                                                                                               Psalm 58:3 – The wicked are estranged from the womb: they go astray as soon as they be born, speaking lies.                                                              Matthew 5:19 – Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.

 Sin never satisfies.

Hebrews 11:25 Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season;

 Sin will find you out. (Note: This is the only place in the Bible that says BE SURE)

Numbers 32:23But if ye will not do so, behold, ye have sinned against the Lord: and be sure your sin will find you out.

 Sin brings sorrow.

Psalm 51:3For I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me.                                                                                                                     James 1:15Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.

Sin Hardens the heart.

Hebrews 3:13But exhort one another daily, while it is called To day; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.                   Ephesians 4:18Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart:                                                                                                                                                                                                                           Matthew 15:16-20 –And Jesus said, Are ye also yet without understanding?Do not ye yet understand, that whatsoever entereth in at the mouth goeth into the belly, and is cast out into the draught?But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart; and they defile the man.For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies:These are the things which defile a man: but to eat with unwashen hands defileth not a man.

Sin affects others.

Exodus 20:5bfor I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me;

1 Corinthians 5:6Your glorying is not good. Know ye not that a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump?

People>Jesus>Saved

Sin separates me from God.

Isaiah 59:1-2Behold, the Lord‘s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear:But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear.

2 Thessalonians 1:9They will suffer the punishment of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might

Romans 1:24 – Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves

Matthew 25:41 – Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.

Sin cost God His dear Son.

1 Peter 1:18-19Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible   things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot:

Sin can be both forgiven and cleansed.

1 John 1:7-9 But if we are living in the light, as God is in the light, then we have fellowship with each other, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, cleanses us from all sin.  If we claim we have no sin, we are only fooling ourselves and not living in the truth. But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness

Psalm 51:10Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.

John 8:36if the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.

God loves you.

He does not want to see you suffering in sin.

You can be free from the bondage of sin today, right now.

With a sincere heart ask the Father to forgive you and your faith will set you free.