Last month, my husband and I spent a week on the island of St. John with some dear, long-time friends, Irvin and Kayleen. Our families have vacationed together numerous times over the years, but this trip was the first time it was just the four of us.
One evening, after another great day on the beach, we were relaxing in the living room of our rented house when Kayleen excitedly announced an unwelcome guest. Looking to my right, I saw a good-sized scorpion running alongside the baseboard. Irvin hopped up and lightly (yes, I said “lightly”) stepped on the critter.
The scorpion wasn’t moving anymore and Irvin pronounced it “dead.” As he plopped back in his chair he mumbled something about picking it up in a few minutes. Well, less than a minute later movement caught my eye. The scorpion wasn’t dead after all and he was trying to make an escape!
I hollered, “Irvin! It’s moving again!” Irvin hurried over and once again lightly stepped on the ugly insect, stopping it once again.
“You barely touched it,” I complained.
“I stepped harder this time. He isn’t going anywhere,” Irvin replied.
“Irvin doesn’t like to hear the crunch,” Kayleen chimed in. “He’s squeamish like that.”
Irvin defended himself. “Gross and totally unnecessary. He’s dead. He’s definitely dead this time.”
Irvin had just barely had time to get settled back in his chair when that blasted scorpion began crawling again!
“Irvin!” I shouted. “The thing is still not dead! Kill it this time! You gotta make it crunch!”
For the third time, Irvin hurried over to the scorpion. This time he stepped hard and we all heard the crunch that confirmed the death of our enemy.
Of course, for the rest of the week, the three of us found opportunities to remind Irvin, “Man, you gotta hear the crunch!”
Oh yes, you definitely have to hear the crunch. It’s true with tough, dangerous insects that might crawl into your bed and bite you. And it’s true with the sin that threatens our spiritual condition.
Sometimes, we only step lightly on the sin, knowing it isn’t good for us, but not quite willing to deal it a deathblow. We “cut back” or set it aside for a while. We stop reading or looking but we don’t throw it out. We only put it on a high shelf. It’s harder to get to, but we know where it is if we decide to go back to it.
The Bible gives us a far different command regarding the sin in our lives:
Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry… You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived. But now you must rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. Colossians 3:5, 7-8, NIV
The Greek word translated as “put to death” in Colossians 3:5 means “to make dead, to put to death, slay.” Paul wanted to make sure we understood we shouldn’t play around with the sin in our lives. We can’t “step lightly.” We gotta hear the crunch.
I’ve played it both ways over the years. Yes, I’ve crunched. But other times I’ve stepped lightly. And when I didn’t hear the crunch, those things had a tendency to get up and walk around again.
Man, you gotta hear the crunch.
What does “crunching” or “putting to death” a sin look like?