When reading the first Chapter of Romans, it is easy and I must admit a little too pious, to glance over all the evils listed and say, yes, people in my times are like these, but thank God I am not! I read stories in the paper and hear them on the news about the sexual deviation, the lust and greed, and serving created things instead of the Creator. But that’s not me. I am not of this world. I follow Christ. Then today, I came to the 31rst verse and stopped.
“They are senseless, faithless, heartless and ruthless,” my NIV Bible says.
I had to think about that. I recall the dance number in Flower Drum Song when the seamstress dreams of romantic interludes with the young man promised to another, and at the end slides away down a slope, arms stretched out into a mist. Gorgeous choreography, but that is not what falling into sin is.
Sin is a slower, perhaps less detectable journey. It starts with being senseless – not using ones senses or common sense to detect danger and avoid it. Perhaps, the danger entices the senses a little too much and one becomes first overwhelmed, then dulled to the lure, so they senselessly give in.
Then comes faithless. Ignoring the Holy Spirit’s prompting, one turns to his or her own “devices and desires” and relies on self, not God. Faith gives way in the presence of pride, greed, envy and the other deadlies. The “me” inside takes over.
The heart becomes as hardened as a defiant child’s – not willing to turn back because the pleasures of the sin are too wonderful, or the way back seems too hard. It is easier not to have a heart, not to feels it’s pangs. Who cares who is hurt by the behavior. The heartless do not want to think about who is hurt the most, the One who suffered most for them.
So one becomes ruthless. That means showing no mercy or pity. Ruth, in the Bible showed both towards her mother-in-law Naomi. Perhaps that is where the term comes from. To be not like Ruth. Selfish, uncaring, without pity.
I have to ask myself, where am I in each of the areas that the Lord wants to deal with me? Lord, please let me stop at senseless, because it is senseless not to follow your Ways. Then it will be easier to come back, because my straying off the path will have just begun. Then I will have the sense to let faith guide my heart and I can be more like Ruth in each situation.
A freelance writer by trade, Julie Cosgrove has written and published many articles with secular and Christian themes as well as ghostwriting e-Books, web content and devotionals. Dedicating her life to Christ at the age of thirteen, she became a Religious Studies major who was awarded the American Bible Society’s Religion Major of the Year her senior year in college. Julie has led retreats, workshops, Bible studies and quiet days for prayer and reflection. She is a member of the Christian Writers Fellowship International, Freelance Writers Network, Oklahoma Writers Federation Inc and lives with her husband and one cat in a town outside of Fort Worth Texas.