Frightened of Sin?

Halloween is this week: Television stations air scary movies. Businesses decorate with cobwebs and spiders. Kids dress up like ghoulish monsters.

When I asked my family what frightens them, my husband responded: “You.”

I don’t blame him.

Last week, our family was working in the yard. I was in good spirits, shoveling gravel with my teenage son and my daughter’s boyfriend. Then I turned around and saw my twelve-year-old Japanese maple lying on the ground. My husband and daughter thought the tree was too close to our house and chopped it down.

Steam didn’t come from my ears, but profanity spewed from my lips. My face didn’t turn red, but if looks could have killed…

Throwing my rake on the ground, I blasted them with my words like bullets from a Tommy gun, and ran away in tears.

Even Jonah from the Bible could not have been more outraged when God appointed a worm and wind to destroy his shade tree.

Why the public confession?

Because a butchered tree may be upsetting, but it does not excuse an ungodly response.

My family apologized profusely; they had no idea. And before the sun set on my anger, I asked them to forgive me. We laugh about my crazed behavior.

But sin is no laughing matter.

It frightens me to know sin lingers in my heart, waiting for an opportune moment to rear itself.

“For from the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, all sexual immorality, theft, lying, and slander” (Matthew 15:19).

Isn’t it easy to walk in the Spirit instead of the flesh when there’s no agitation? But add a pinch of stress, a pound of unmet expectations, or a felled tree and suddenly I’m staring at my flawed humanity.

My hope: “If we confess our sin, God is faithful and willing to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”  (1 John 1:9).

My consolation: “Karen (my emphasis) was washed clean (purified by a complete atonement for sin and made free from the guilt of sin), and Karen was consecrated (set apart, hallowed), and Karen was justified (pronounced righteous, by trusting) in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Holy Spirit of our God.” (1 Corinthians 6:11, Amplified version).

My assurance: God uses even this…a felled Japanese maple…to teach me I’m a work in progress, relying on His grace.

Author: Karen Foster

I'd like to say I've changed, but after decades of living, I still have the same four passions. My relationship with Jesus, spending time with family, attending live theater, and writing devotions & first-person stories about a loving, faithful God who reveals Himself in our every day circumstances.

11 thoughts on “Frightened of Sin?”

  1. It is good to know GOD conforms us to His image therefore we have room to grow and change


  2. Karen, how humbling it is to read and know that you share your plights with others, the above passage really speaks out to me, I often lose my temper and then wish I had never done so. It is then when I realize that I have a awesome GOD for a father, and you know what this is what he does when I fall and sin: “As far as the east is from the west, So far has He removed our (my) transgressions from us.

    Sometime we do not forgive ourself, yet GOD has forgiven and forgotten.



    1. Alex, I’m mild-mannered. So I’m always surprised when I lose my temper. HA I am faced with the gunk inside of me that is bubbling beneath the surface. After I get over my dismay that I’m not as “godly” as I like to think I am….LOL…then I’m overjoyed to meditate on God’s grace towards me. Hard to wrap my mind around the Lord forgetting my sins because I have a longgggg memory.


  3. Such a powerful reminder that sin indeed is lurking, waiting to pounce on that downed maple tree…that car who cut me off…the rude clerk.. or whatever the enemy chooses to hit me below the belt with! And he knows what irks you is not the same thing that sets me off…each of us has our own raw nerve, and he knows exactly how to proceed. BUT, to confess and hold on to Christ’s amazing grace is what keeps us growing and trusting…and learning from experience the danger of the tempter’s snare and the faithfulness of our Lord!


  4. Oh Karen
    I know exactly how you felt – I also am a work in progress
    But GOD.. corrects, teaches, loves and forgives
    We keep carrying around the guilt after we asked for forgiveness
    God’s Grace say move on and learn from the past
    My fallen Japanese Maple was at the Pharmacy the other day when I reacted in a fallen way
    I call it Stumbling into Grace and I have a long way to go but with God leading the way and watching my back I will always have His Prescence
    God Bless


    1. “Reacted in a fallen way…stumbling into Grace.” I love your words. Thank you Susie for the encouragement to let go and move away and stop staring at the tree.


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