The Misuse of God's Gifts

Sin is bad. There ain’t no doubt. It hurts everyone involved in it. Most of all, it hurts God.

I’m sure it hurts God for alot of reasons: It offends His holiness, it mocks (in some way) the sacrifice of Jesus, and I believe He’s truly grieved by the pain it causes others. But I also think it hurts God because sin is a distortion of God’s gifts. It’s a radical misuse for evil of what He gave us for good.

Go ahead – pick a gift, any gift. We’ll go with sex. It’s a good thing, not sinful in and of itself. It becomes sinful when we misuse it. We distort and mar the gift God gave to us and so we see prostitution, rape, and abuse.

Or responsibility. From the beginning, God gave humanity the gift of responsibility, entrusting us to care for the earth and each other. But we take responsibility and abuse it, using it to meet out own ends. And so the gift becomes about power rather than care.

Or food. Food is good. Really good. But we don’t know when to say when, and so we eat not to live but we live to eat, growing gluttonous and lazy as we wallow in our self-satisfaction.

Or how about this one that’s often overlooked – the law. When Moses came down off the mountain with the extensive codes for living, they were a gift from God. Those laws show us how to function practically with each other. They reveal to us the nature of a righteous and holy God. And ultimately, that law is meant to point us to Christ. But we have abused that, too. We look at the law as a stepping stone, a way to quantify and measure how good we are doing. We take the gift God gave to us and use it as a crutch for our own pride and haughtiness, holding up our merit badges to God.

In the case of the law, as Paul points out in Galatians 3, we have used that which God gave us to bring us to the end of ourselves to make much of ourselves.

God, save us today from abusing the gifts you have given to us. Let us receive them with grateful hearts instead of greedy fingers.

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