Singapore’s air hung like a heavy blanket. The sun desperately wanted to shine; it could only manage a pale glow.
Nearby, farmers on the island of Sumatra were using a technique called slash and burn to chop down rainforest, set it on fire, and create farmland. Smoke from the fires, carried by the wind, caused dense smog to form in Singapore, in what was already hot, humid, and hazy weather.
We could see it in the air. We could smell it when we stepped outside. We could feel it burning our throats. Singapore’s Celebration Run & Ride event became a walk and ride as organizers lamented the Pollutants Standards Index in the highly unhealthy range.
The farmers in their desire for more land had not considered the consequences of their actions. They didn’t reflect on how their activities would affect the environment and people far away.
When we feed our desires, we are in danger of hurting our world and other people, too. We need to stop and think; to consider what we’re doing.
It’s funny how the next day I received a notification on my phone that fit with this thought. It said: Time to SIN 27 minutes (2 minutes delay).
You may be wondering why I was receiving an alert about an imminent transgression. Of course, the message had nothing to do with my behavior. Google was telling me how long it would take to get from my hotel to Singapore’s airport—the airport code for Singapore is SIN.
Wouldn’t it be great though, if we received a warning before we said words or took actions we’d later regret? When that hurtful comment pops out of your mouth, you already know it’s too late. Don’t you wish you could take back the remarks? Or the time you ignored a person and realized you would not have another opportunity to be kind to them. Don’t you wish you could go back and change the moment?
Knowing in advance when we’re going to blunder, or having a two-minute delay to consider changing our ways, would give us the opportunity to fix our attitude and behavior, and improve our relationships.
The Bible says when we’re enticed to do wrong, there is always a way out. Temptation doesn’t have to lead to sin. There’s nothing shameful about being tempted. Even Jesus was tempted, in exactly the same way we are. The problem comes when we follow through on the desire to do something wrong.
However, scripture points to two things that can help us find a way out;
WATCH. Jesus told his disciples to be alert when they were tempted. We must train ourselves to be on the lookout. We need to try and do better, to have self-control.
Eventually the burning stopped and the air cleared in Singapore. The sun shone, and it was hot, very hot.
In the same way, when we overcome the urge to do wrong, our good qualities can be seen.
How can you clear the air in your own life and let God’s light shine brightly through you today?
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This week, I am linking up with Suzie Eller’s #LiveFreeThursday, Missional Women’s #FaithFilledFriday, #RaRaLinkup hosted by Angela Partin, Holly Barrett’s #TestimonyTuesday , and Holley Gerth’s #CoffeeForYourHeart, with Natalie Venegas at Salt & Light, Susan B. Mead at #DanceWithJesus, Arabah Joy at Grace & Truth, Kelly Balarie at #RaRaLinkup, with Holley Gerth at #CoffeeForYourHeart