I think it was Karen Jobes in her commentary on 1 Peter who said she thinks Christians sin as much out of a desire to avoid suffering as they do to gain pleasure- maybe more so.  I think that’s right.  And that kind of sin is a lot more subtle.  The overt sins that I commit because they feel good, like drinking that extra glass of whiskey or surfing the web when I should be working, those are more obvious and tangible.  But the sins I commit out of a desire to avoid pain- not dealing with difficult problems, not dealing with difficult people- can be kind of invisible without careful self-reflection.

But we’re supposed to suffer in this life.  That is the nature of the Christian walk in a sin-cursed world.  And it seems apparent to me that if someone doesn’t have much suffering in their lives, it is probably because they are insulating themselves from it.  They are not loving the hurting; they are not exposing themselves to the messiness of human relationships; they are interacting only with those people they most enjoy and not the difficult situations that family and church force on us; they are not sacrificing of their material goods for others; they are spending their lives pursuing material things and pleasure, and not the things of God.

How often have I been the rich man dining while Lazarus was suffering outside?

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