Monday, November 10, 2008

The Ten Second Rule

The ten second rule. You know what I’m talking about. Uncounted numbers of hamburger, Skittles and Fritos have been saved from the trash can by this rule. The rule plainly states that any food that drops to the floor can still be eaten if it is picked up before ten seconds pass.
I once worked in a movie theater snack bar. While I worked there the 10 Second Rule was strictly enforced.
I’m pretty sure some of the hot dogs turning on the rack were there before I was hired and continued to spin after I left. One day one of the ushers knocked a dog to the floor and hesitated before picking it up. The manager on duty approved of the dog going back under the heat lamp. But he said, “If you had taken any more time in picking up that hot dog, we would have had to change the rule to twenty seconds.”
I often think about the Ten Second Rule when the subject of sin comes up. Really.
Have you ever wondered about why the Bible talks about everyone being a sinner?
Romans 3:23 says, “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” That same chapter, verse 10 says, “There is none righteous, not ever one.”
Maybe you’ve had a friend ask you, or you’ve wondered yourself, that “all” can’t really be “all”. Especially when you read something like Romans 6:23 that says “The wages of sin is death.” That’s saying that everyone should be convicted of the death penalty for sin. How can that be?
Sure, maybe someone like Hitler you can call a sinner who is worthy of the death penalty. Maybe the people on the news convicted of molesting and killing children, someone like that you could call a sinner that should dies for their sins. But everyone?
Surely the Bible couldn’t be talking about Gandhi. Or Martin Luther King. Or Steve or Joe, the hosts of “Blue’s Clues”.
What is the Bible talking about?
Okay, back to the Ten Second Rule. Maybe you’ve seen Mythbusters on the Discovery Channel. They’re the guys who take urban legends and test them out to see if they’re true. They had the audacity to take on the Ten Second Rule to see if it was true. And shock of shocks, they found out it isn’t.
If you drop a potato chip on a dirty, germ infested floor; it doesn’t matter if its there for a second, ten seconds or ten minutes. Once it touches the floor, it’s dirty. Sure, it might seem less nasty to eat the Ho-Ho that has only been on a dirty floor for a second than the one that has been resting through a couple of songs on the I-Pod but it really doesn’t matter.
Imagine someone you love is in for surgery. All the instruments have been carefully scrubbed and sterilized. The surgeon is about to begin the operation. Then she drops the scalpel and says, “Ten Second Rule” and cuts right in. That would not inspire confidence and it very might well lead to a nasty, perhaps deadly, infection.
Sin is like that. It doesn’t matter whether we’ve sinned a little or a lot. Any sin makes us impure before a holy God just as a surgical instrument exposed to a little or a lot of filth is unfit for use.
But fortunately, there is more to Romans 6: 23 than I quoted before, “The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
So when you tempted to think, “You know, I’m not so bad compared to…”: just remember the Ten Second Rule.”

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