“It’s easier to ask forgiveness than permission.” This is the mantra of nearly every Youth Pastor. Want to play hide & seek in the sanctuary behind the organ bellows? Football in the nursery? Nerf Wars in the children’s ministry wing? Go for it, just don’t ask permission. That way, they can’t say no. If a hole appears in the bass drum, a knee goes through drywall, or a body crashes into a crib, the word “sorry,” should be enough.
Come to think of it, this attitude happens in our everyday lives as well. That tool at Home Depot, the accent chair at The Mart, heading off to a different friend’s house than where we told our parents we would be. If we don’t ask permission, they can’t say no. And this is why we don’t ask, because deep down, we know the answer is likely to be, “no.” So, we skip the asking permission and wait until we simply have to ask forgiveness. We willfully choose the thing we know is wrong, knowing we’ll be shown grace when we later “repent.” But at the end of the day, this isn’t a loophole, it’s willful sin.
Paul covers this attitude of willful sin in Romans 5:20-6:2. First, he points out that the more we sin, the more God’s grace increases. But then he asks and warns, “Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? BY NO MEANS! We are those who have died to sin; how can we live it in any longer?”
Today, as we fast from willful sin, rather than say yes to the things we already know should be NO, choose instead to listen to the prompting of God’s Holy Spirit, leading you not to temptation, but delivering you from evil.