How do you respond to sin?
I know when people sin against me I am very quick to judge and demand justice. How dare they do such a thing! Who do they think they are? In that moment the flood waters of God’s wrath could not come any sooner. And yet, when I get caught out, when I sin and fall, I am quick to ask for mercy. I want the protection and the safety of the Ark. Give me a chance, lets just move on, let it go. I am very harsh with others sins and very lenient with my own sins. Funny how it always seems to be like that. I am clearly not as righteous as I think I am.
In Genesis 10, we see the cracks appearing in Noah’s life. For the past 600 years Noah has been day in and day out living righteously before God. He had just gone through the most dramatic period of his life as he saw first-hand the wrath of God and now having come out of the Ark in a time of new beginnings, second chances, fresh starts – Noah subtlety but dramatically falls into sin. That’s because though the flood waters could wash away sinful humanity from the earth, it could never wash away the sin within the hearts of humanity.
If a righteous man like Noah can fall into sin, then we need to be humble and be watchful over our own sin. Similarly, if all of us are prone to sin and there is no one righteous and beyond sin then we should also be very careful in how we respond to someone else’s sin lest we add to their sin with our own.
When Noah was caught by his son Ham in his sin of drunkenness and nakedness, Ham had a decision to make in how he would respond to his father’s sin. He could either condemn his father or he could be compassionate to his father. It was all too easy for Ham to condemn Noah and to kick him while he was down. Instead, Ham should have been like his brothers Shem and Japheth who in seeing the sin of Noah they did all that they could to love and dignify him nonetheless. There was nothing to gain in demonising Noah nor is there anything to gain in demonising anyone for their sin.
1 Peter 4:8 says: Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. Shem and Japheth covered over the sins of their father when they walked in backwards and covered Noah’s drunken nakedness. Jesus covered over the sins of the world as he stepped into the world knowing full well he would die for the sins of the world.
As the rainbow was the reminder for God to never destroy the world again as he did with the flood. May the cross remind us to never destroy our brother or sister whom Christ has died for. Let us take sin very seriously and let us take the forgiveness of sins all the more seriously.
Boon Guo Quah