I just listened to a podcast by a woman named Gaby Viesca. She was talking about the two women portrayed in Proverbs chapter 9. (Proverbs 9 is a letter from a father to his son.) The first woman in Proverbs 9 is wisdom. The second woman is folly. And in this teaching, Gaby points out that both women are found on the streets, which speaks of the place where life happens for the writer’s son, and for all of us. And she goes on to point out that the two begin each of their respective messages in the same way.
Wisdom says, “Whoever is simple, let him turn in here! To him who lacks sense…” (9:4)
And Folly also says, “Whoever is simple, let him turn in here! To him who lacks sense…” (9:16) That’s the method of Folly. She drapes the framework of her lie with a thin but beautiful cloak that looks like truth.
Then Wisdom goes on to say, “Come, eat of my bread and drink of the wine I have mixed. Leave your simple ways, and live, and walk in the way of insight.”
But Folly says, “Stolen water is sweet, and bread eaten in secret is pleasant.” (the writer of Proverbs 9 continues: But he does not know that the dead are there, that her guests are in the depths of Sheol.) (Proverbs chapter 9)
I remember when my two sons were born. I thought I knew what love was up until that time, but I really didn’t. When they were born it changed everything. Suddenly I wanted to become a better man. Many times what I said to my sons was similar to what the writer of Proverbs 9 wrote, about the two women. Sometimes those conversations were hard. But I said what I said anyway, because I wanted to do everything possible to help my sons become better men. I wanted that so bad that I didn’t care about the cost to me. Sometimes doing what was best for them was painful, for me. Sometimes doing what was best for my sons resulted in the disapproval of others. Sometimes doing what was best for my sons resulted in the disapproval of my sons. If you have children of your own, you know what I mean.
But I cared so deeply, I would do anything for them.
The Son Of God
I think that’s how Jesus feels about us. In the last post from the book of John we saw how the Pharisees asked the healed man, who it was that healed him. And we saw how the healed man couldn’t answer the question. He didn’t know who it was. Now we get to see what happens next.
What happens is, Jesus goes to the temple and finds the formerly lame man he healed. And this is what Jesus says to him: Look, you’re well! Sin no more, so nothing worse happens to you. (John 5:14)
Jesus’ heart is that of a father for his son. He sees this man lying at the pool of Bethesda and because he loves him, his first action is to free him from his broken nonambulatory state. Jesus heals him, purely for the man’s sake. Then Jesus melts into the crowd so he doesn’t receive any acclaim for himself. Jesus seeks nothing from the healing but the benefit of this man. And then he goes to the trouble of finding the man so he can deliver this message: sin no more, because there are consequences to sin.
The heart of Jesus here is, “I don’t want you imprisoned. I don’t want you to live life as a lame person.” The heart of Jesus here is not, “Ha, I’m just waiting to pounce if I catch you making a mistake.” The heart of Jesus here is, “I want you to flourish. I want you to thrive. I want you to live free.”
Sin no more so nothing worse happens to you.
Sin no more, because there are consequences to sin.
Gaby Viesca was talking about the two women from Proverbs chapter 9 in the context of pornography. Today we know that pornography is bad. We know it reduces sexual satisfaction in marriage. We know it increases the likelihood of divorce. We know it diminishes our ability to have healthy relationships. This isn’t coming from just Christ followers. We have the science. You can read about the consequences of porn in Time, New York magazine, and even GQ. There’s a reddit community dedicated to not viewing it. Even secular minded celebrities have spoken out against pornography. We know there are consequences to the sin of pornography.
But there are consequences to all sin. And as a loving father wants what’s best for his sons and daughters, Jesus wants the best life for us. That’s why he goes to the trouble of finding us, to tell us to sin no more.
The Writer’s Final Word
In Proverbs 9 the woman of wisdom says, “Come, eat of my bread and drink of the wine I have mixed. Leave your simple ways, and live, and walk in the way of insight.”
After that statement, the author writes this:
“…reprove a wise man, and he will love you. Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be still wiser; teach a righteous man, and he will increase in learning. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight. For by me your days will be multiplied, and years will be added to your life. If you are wise, you are wise for yourself; if you scoff, you alone will bear it.” (Proverbs 9:8-12)
Image via pixabay – licensed for reuse on Google Images
The Proverbs 9 portions of this post were inspired by Gaby Viesca’s teaching: Sex in the City, 4/17/2016, 11 AM