Time Does Not Cancel Sin
We have a strange illusion that mere time cancels sin. I have heard others, and I have heard myself, recounting cruelties and falsehoods committed in boyhood as if they were no concern of the present speaker's, and even with laughter. But mere time does nothing either to the fact or to the guilt of a sin. The guilt is washed out not by time but by repentance and the blood of Christ: if we have repented these early sins we should remember the price of our forgiveness and be humble. As for the fact of a sin, is it probable that anything cancels it? All times are eternally present to God. Is it not at least possible that along some one line of His multi-dimensional eternity He sees you forever in the nursery pulling the wings off a fly, forever toadying, lying, and lusting as a schoolboy, forever in that moment of cowardice or insolence as a subaltern? It may be that salvation consists not in the cancelling of these eternal moments but in the perfected humanity that bears the shame forever, rejoicing in the occasion which it furnished to God's compassion and glad that it should be common knowledge to the universe. Perhaps in that eternal moment St Peter—he will forgive me if I am wrong—forever denies his Master. If so, it would indeed be true that the joys of Heaven are for most of us, in our present condition, 'an acquired taste'—and certain ways of life may render the taste impossible of acquisition. Perhaps the lost are those who dare not go to such a public place. Of course I do not know that this is true; but I think the possibility is worth keeping in mind.
—from The Problem of Pain
Compiled in A Year with C.S. Lewis
The Problem of Pain. Copyright © 1940, C. S. Lewis Pte. Ltd. Copyright restored © 1996 by C. S. Lewis Pte. Ltd. All rights reserved. Used with permission of HarperCollins Publishers. A Year With C.S. Lewis: Daily Readings from His Classic Works. Copyright © 2003 by C. S. Lewis Pte. Ltd. All rights reserved. Used with permission of HarperCollins Publishers.
Hear me now therefore, O ye children, and depart not from the words of my mouth. Lest strangers be filled with thy wealth; and thy labors be in the house of a stranger (5:7,10).
The sign nailed to the tree said "No Trespassing." The red letters stood out for yards in every direction. But that didn't stop the young boys from climbing the fence in order to reach the apples that grew on the trees on the other side. One day, a small boy slipped while he was climbing the apple tree, and he fell onto a pile of sharp branches, cutting himself badly, and breaking his ankle. Alone and afraid, the young boy lay crying for hours amidst the tumble of sticks. Finally, the owner of the property happened by. He came out and lifted the boy from the branches. The child was afraid of the wrath of the farmer who had posted such ominous signs, but the old gentleman merely smiled at the boy and said, "I didn't put the signs up to be mean. I put them there to try to keep things like this from happening. It was kindness which caused me to want to protect little boys just like you."
Our loving heavenly Father gives us rules for the same reason. He is hoping to save us from pain and suffering. When we ignore His guidance, we find ourselves in terrible situations. We can feel confident that God is trying to protect us by His rules. He protects us from strangers who would prey on us, and strangers who might mistreat us.
prayer: Dear Father, help me to accept the rules you have given me. Guide me that I might always avoid the snares of strangers, and the dangers in life. Amen.