Sin Is a Jack Pine

Jack Pine. Pine cone.
Jack Pine. Pine cone. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Years ago, I fell in love–my first love as a Christian, so I let down every self-preserving defense I had put in place against heartache. I had prayed. Fleeces had been place. God gave me two thumbs up. This love was a go.

Unfortunately, six weeks after our love affair began, it ended with the cliched line, “I’m not ready for marriage. This wouldn’t be fair to you.”

Two weeks later, he fell in love with my best friend. Jealousy, Song of Solomon says, “…is is cruel as the grave: the coals thereof are coals of fire, which has a most vehement flame.” And boy oh boy, did I get burned.

Fire is critical to many trees–two examples would be the jack pine on the East Coast, sequoia on the West. The cones are virtually glued shut with resin. When fire sweeps through their habitat, the cones release their seeds. In the fire swept environment, new trees flourish.

The same can be said of jealousy. If it’s a fire, it ignites those close-held seeds of sin and years after you think you’ve eradicated it, it blossoms again.

Quite a few years after the marriage of my beloved–long after I was happily married, my beloved died, and after an appropriate time, my best friend found new love. Jealousy gripped me.

Totally weird. I had everything I wanted. A man who loved me, whom I adore and have absolutely no intention of leaving or trading in. I plan on making him stay with me until I croak (and probably wouldn’t re-marry should he have the audacity to die before me).

Beautiful grandchildren blanket me with love. Home and finances exceed that of any of my friends. Still, jealousy nudged me.

No one ever accused me of being rational.

That made me think–sin is a habit. We see it easily in alcohol or food addiction. Gossip rears its ugly head when conditions are juicy. But all sin seems to steep its seeds in cones of selfishness–given the right conditions…it rears its sticky head.

How do we break the habit? You know the obvious–prayer and Bible reading. But here are a few more ideas on how to break habitual sin.

  1. Take time to note why you are doing it? My jealousy comes from leftover childhood disappointments–the popular boy wanted the cheerleader. I wasn’t good enough. Ralph, my idol, wanted Betty, my friend,–therefore the fault was mine. Gossip improves our self-esteem. Sex ignites our serotonin levels, alcohol hides our inhibitions. Get to the root–through therapy or counseling or journaling.
  2. And speaking of journaling–write it down. The Bible says to confess our sins–and confession does release the guilt feelings. Find out what may trigger your sin. Work to eliminate the problem.
  3. Reward your success. When I was growing up, my church preached vigorously on humility. I learned it (it wasn’t taught as such) as putting myself down. That is not humility–it’s self-deprecation. When I thank God for the good in my life, praise Him for my success or honestly assess my good qualities, I’m less likely envy others or desire to get something unsavory in my life. According to my yoga teacher, being thankful five times a day for a month will improve your life expectancy.
  4. Know that God doesn’t deem certain actions sin just because He’s a big meany. Sin is sin because it: 
    • hurts others
    • hurts you
    • hurts God

How do you keep your jack pine seeds from blossoming?

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