May 31, 2020

Pastoral Nuggets: Everybody in Mayberry was a Sinner

A week or so ago, I had lunch with one of my pastors.

While we were eating and conversing, our conversation turned to the great decline and decay of morals in America today.

I made the statement that, while America has always had people on the extreme fringes regarding moral issues, there used to be a vast middle who adhered to acceptable moral standards.

I’m talking about people who may not call themselves Christians, or for that matter, even attend church. Yet, they were still morally good people.

Why, you would even let your children spend the night with theirs and not be concerned about their safety. Sadly, that vast middle has all but disappeared. Now we practice “identity politics,” where you’re either “for us” or “against us.”

Sadly, we’ve lived to see the definition of the word “evangelical” changed. It is now used as a political designation instead of a Spiritual designation or practice.

In the course of our conversation, I used Otis Campbell, the town drunk on the Andy Griffith Show, as an example. I said something to the effect that while Otis was the town drunk, even he had enough morality about himself, that when he got soused, he’d lock himself in the jail and sleep it off.

My friend said, “I’m gonna give you some pushback on what you just said.”

He continued, “Otis wasn’t the only sinner in Mayberry. In fact, everybody in Mayberry was a sinner. But the difference between Otis and every other resident of Mayberry is that their sins were acceptable; Otis’s wasn’t!”

I sat up straight and said, “You know what? You’re right! And the biggest sinner in the whole town was Andy, the sheriff! You see, he was always telling little white lies, or running some deceptive scheme for Barney’s benefit!”

And others in the town were guilty of gossip, pride, envy, and a myriad of other things! But here’s the difference: Society viewed their sins as acceptable – and we tend not to seek forgiveness for our “acceptable” sins. Poor Otis!

In Proverbs 29: 18, the Bible, the Word of the Living God, teaches us that where there is no prophetic vision, a goal, or a supreme standard that governs their lives, then people will lose focus on what really matters. Subsequently, they cast off all restraint. This leads to their destruction.

Play make believe with me. Picture in your mind a train traveling on the railroad tracks.

Suppose this train says, “These tracks are just too confining for me!  With all the power I have I should be able to determine where I go. I’m tired of going only where these tracks compel me to go. Therefore, I’m jumping these tracks and going my own way!”

Quite naturally, you know that the moment the train breaks free from the tracks that constrain it, its destruction is eminent.

The truth of the column today is this: Sin derails us. It is not big sins or little sins that separate us from Jesus. It’s not acceptable or unacceptable sins that separate us from Jesus. It is sin period!

Romans 6:23(a) states, “For the wages of sin is death …”  You see, the smallest, most minute sin you can think of, is enough to send you to hell for eternity. Jesus didn’t just die for big sins, little sins, acceptable sins, and unacceptable sins; He died for sin, period!

In my lifetime I have been Otis; I have been Andy; I have been other Mayberry citizens, and I have been the train that cast off all restraint, jumped the track, and was headed for certain destruction.

But praise the Lord, my Redeemer lives. And He’s not just Otis’s Redeemer, He’s the Redeemer for everybody in Mayberry, regardless of their sins – and that includes you and me!

Brother Aaron

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