Toxic Attractions [Part 2]

Are you ready for some good news?

The answer to our toxic attractions is the kindness of God that leads us to repentance.

Today’s Text: “Now Absalom, David’s son, had a beautiful sister, whose name was Tamar. And after a time Amnon, David’s son, loved her. And Amnon was so tormented that he made himself ill because of his sister Tamar, for she was a virgin, and it seemed impossible to Amnon to do anything to her. But Amnon had a friend, whose name was Jonadab, the son of Shimeah, David’s brother. And Jonadab was a very crafty man.” (2 Samuel 13:1–3, ESV)

Then Amnon hated her with very great hatred, so that the hatred with which he hated her was greater than the love with which he had loved her. And Amnon said to her, “Get up! Go!”” (2 Samuel 13:15, ESV)

Amnon found himself attracted so powerfully to his half-sister that he made himself ill. He had to have her. But, once he assaulted her, he hated her. That’s the nature of all toxic attractions. The deceitful allure feels all powerful but once attained, leave the soul riddled with poison.

We have all experienced the horror of realizing that what promised to be deliciously good was actually putridly bad.

Truly, the more we grow in Christ, the more we experience this. It may be just one unkind word that you spoke behind somebody’s back that somehow you thought would elevate you, and then in the moment of it coming out of your mouth you realize it was putrid. The problem is that, without the good news message of what has been done for us in Jesus Christ, we are just left with our horror, and it produces an inward self-loathing. Out of that deep self-hate, we then shift that hate and blame toward someone else – sometimes the very person we hurt. The cycle of inward shame then demands isolation (“Get away from me!”) when it most needs love.

The answer to our besetting sin is not the sternness of God, the isolation of self and self-loathing. The answer to our toxic attractions is the kindness of God that leads us to repentance.

In our rebellion, what we need to be free is not law but grace. We need Jesus, who came to set the captives free. We need Jesus, who took on all our putrid, ugly sin and died the death that we deserved so that we could be washed clean. We need Jesus, who was raised to life, demonstrating that He had dominion over sin and death. And we need the Spirit, the One Jesus sent as a Helper who will never lead us into deception.

Freedom comes as we are converted to the truth, our lives more and more yielded to Christ. It is God’s kindness that leads us to repentance and freedom. And that’s the gospel!

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