October 24, 2016

Tiger Woods and his wife have, it is reported, had distress in the last several days.  At issue, seems to be the “transgression” to which Tiger Woods has admitted.  In recent years there have been multiple people of prominence who have been caught in certain “transgressions”.

What, exactly, is “transgression”? The answer to that question, in this “post modern” society, depends upon how each person may wish to define the word.  Past President Bill Clinton referred to the question of how one defines “is” in reference to his indiscretion in the Oval Office.

One does not know how Tiger Woods defines “transgression” or if he will ever define what he meant when he used the term.

Literally, “transgression” means to cross over a line and in the realm of morality, it means to violate what is expected and acceptable.  In terms of the ethical or moral climate, “transgression” could refer to a violation of a trust, the breaking of a vow or covenant.  In another age, such a transgression would have caused a certain degree of stigma.  However, most people today do not take a second glance when they hear such news.  In fact, people are rushing to claim they shared in Tiger Woods’ “transgression”.

The Scriptures define “transgression” as sin.  “Sin” means to miss the mark that has been set as the target for acceptable behavior.  It means to cross the line or course that has been set as a barrier to protect one from certain consequences that come as a result of violating the parameters put in place by God.  Those boundaries are not put there to deprive one, but to protect one from going beyond the safe zone.  When one insists on crossing the line, he sins.  That is, he violates the rules of acceptable behavior.  See I John 3:2.

When people sin, it seems they almost never think they will be discovered.  They believe they are being discreet and their secret will be guarded.  However, that is almost never the case.

In fact, the Scriptures promise “your sins will find you out.” (Numbers 32:23)  King David could testify as to how hard it is to cover sin. (II Samuel 11-12, Psalms 51:1-4)

If one wishes to see a “catalog of sin”, such a list is found in several places in Scripture.  Some examples are found in the following passages.

Galatians 5:19-21

I Corinthians 6:7-20

Revelation 21:8

Proverbs 6:16-19

One of the most often used excuses for sin is that it (whatever is at issue) is “done by everyone”.  However, God specifically said one cannot justify sin in that way.  His admonition is that we should “not follow a crowd to do evil” (Exodus 23:2) besides, it never is true that all are involved in any given misbehavior (sin).

There are always consequences that follow sin.  God spoke of the consequences which would result from Israel’s failure to keep His commandments in Leviticus 26:14-43.  One of the results is the fact that innocent people are affected by the actions of others.  Often, it is those whom one loves most who suffer for his bad choice, thus his “transgression”.  Children often view such behavior as acceptable when they see it in adults whom they love.  In the next generation, they also make similar mistakes, due to the poor mentoring they have received.

Ultimately, everyone sins (Romans 3:10, 23), however, through Jesus, there can be forgiveness (Romans 6:23).  No wonder, He is our Hope. (Colossians 1:27)

W. E. (Willie) Hamblen

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