It's a verse that I've heard over and over since I was young, that the "wages of sin is death." The emphasis is usually on the BUT the gift of God bit, rather than the true reality of what sin does to us. Yes, the power and love of Christ washes us clean. I believe that.
But at the same time, I hold that sin affects us in underhanded ways, things we might not realize at the time we're doing it, but stuff that changes our outlook, our habits, our tendencies and our ability to appropriately cope with trouble down the road.
This is something that God has been teaching me over the past few months. The wages of sin have as much to do with the here and now as they do with what happens after death. Sin is like a parasite. Once it's in your body, it digs deeper and continues to grow. It becomes more difficult to function the way you were made to function, and your body can actually begin to work against itself. Sin is that way.
For someone battling lies, they lose sight of what truth really feels like after years of being mired in deception. Not only do they lose the trust of the people around them, they also lose the appreciation for honesty and transparency.
For someone who is battling lust, it might seem as though watching porn is harmless. But down the road as they attempt to be intimate with their wife (or husband, it goes both ways), they'll struggle because they were used to experiencing intimacy with a screen.
Just like when the Jews wandered the wilderness, there are reasons for the laws set down by God: to protect us. If I take something made by God and misuse it, it's ten times harder to relearn to act in a way pleasing and worshipful to the Lord.
This is something that's been on my mind for some time now as God has been showing me the damage I've done to myself. It's given me a deeper appreciation for the guidelines given to us from a loving Father. Loving. The laws have always seemed rigid to me until recently. I hope to maintain this new perspective.