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Saturday, May 26, 2012



There's a famous, if depressing, scene that ends the classic 1974 movie, "Chinatown." Faye Dunaway's character has just been shot and killed by the police.

Jack Nicholson's character, a private eye, wants to do something, but his associates dissuade him. "Forget it, Jake," one says. "It's Chinatown."

This scene depicts a situation in which if anything could go wrong it will because they were in Chinatown L.A. And it had to be accepted on the basis that certain things are inevitable.

The characters were trapped in circumstances of their own making, and there was no resolution to the problem because each was desperate to have their own way. They felt desperate situations required desperate measures, that was dominated by their thinking and the outcome was tragic.

It is possible for Christians also find themselves in similar situations due to being unwise. In this case being unwise means doing that which you know is wrong and shouldn't be done. The outcome of this is you find yourself in Chinatown.

There are manifold ways for this to come about including being a victim of circumstance or just plain bad luck but in most cases the person plays a part in bringing it about while neglecting the power of avoidance.

There is a list of things to be avoided for starters found in Proverbs 6:16-19

There are six things the LORD hates, seven that are detestable to him:

Haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked schemes, feet that are quick to rush into evil, a false witness who pours out lies and a person who stirs up conflict in the community.

This especially applies to false teachers; 2 Peter 2:14 Every time they look at a woman, they want her. They are always sinning this way. And they lead weaker people into the trap of sin. They have taught themselves well to be greedy. They are under a curse.

Within the Christian community everyone is suspect;

Galatians 6:1 Brothers and sisters, someone in your group might do something wrong. You who are following the Spirit should go to the one who is sinning. Help make that person right again, and do it in a gentle way. But be careful, because you might be tempted to sin too.

This doesn't mean we just stand off with a suspicious mind but rather understand that sin can be contagious, and any one who values friendship more than walking uprightly will also fall into sin.

That isn't to say you must have the "Chinatown" experience in your life and as long as you don't accept it as being inevitable you can avoid it. When Mr. Inevitability is in charge it takes God out of the picture and you are helpless.

You are having a "Que sera sera" moment, faith takes a holiday and you are in a state of spiritual impotence.

The power of Mr. Inevitability can be broken as in the case of the father whose son would be attacked by an evil spirit. On the surface it looked hopeless and it was inevitable he would remain in that condition. But upon seeing Jesus the father said;

Mark 9:22-24 If you can do anything, please have pity on us and help us." Jesus said to the father, "Why did you say 'if you can'? All things are possible for the one who believes." Immediately the boy's father exclaimed, "I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!"

His prayer ranks up in importance very high among all prayers that have been prayed. The coexistence between belief and unbelief leads us away from faith to acceptance of the inevitable.

If unbelief was always viewed as sin perhaps we would deal more harshly with it rather than acceptance it as a norm.

"Slow are the steps of repentance, but swift are the feet of forgiveness.

God can run where we scarcely limp if we are limping towards Him. The more willing thou art to own up to thy sin, the more willing is God to forgive thee. When thou dost make a clean breast of it, God will soon make a clear record of it." Spurgeon

This post is Linked with Charlotte’s Spiritual Sundays

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