I’ve never been a big hockey fan. In fact I could probably be truthful in saying that I have never seen enough to total a half game if I combined all of my viewing experiences over time together.
But I find one thing interesting in hockey and that is the penalty box.
The penalty box is the area in ice hockey, roller derby and rugby league where a player sits to serve the time of a given penalty, for an offense not severe enough to merit outright expulsion from the game.
But it also has another name. It is referred to at times as the sin bin.
I find that name somewhat interesting because it is rather appropriate for some churches I have been familiar with especially in my younger years.
It was common practice for churches to take a new convert and place him or her on probation for a given period of time.
The intent from what I understood at the time was to give a person time to get his or her life together so their behavior would not affect their testimony as a new convert.
Not everyone changes overnight after accepting Christ as his or her Savior. For many it takes time to learn what the Bible says about being a new convert and what is even expected of a new Christian.
But numerous churches, although they didn’t define it as such at the time, had a virtual penalty box or “sin bin.”
It was a place for new converts as well as for those who fell in category of what the apostle called “carnal Christians.” In other words, their actions didn’t match their testimony. Thus they would place them in the sin bin, that is, penalty box.
While in the penalty box they weren’t allowed to be on the platform to sing or play an instrument or represent God if their living was not conducive to that of a Christian. The Bible tells us that we are to come out from among [the world] and touch not the unclean thing and then Christ will receive them unto himself.
Paul asked the question in Romans 6:1 “Shall we continue to sin so that God’s grace may abound?”
In the next verse Paul answered the question by saying, “God forbid.”
So what was Jesus’s view on having a sin box for new converts?
I read that as Jesus was walking along the Sea of Galilee he saw some men fishing and said, “Come, follow me and I will make you fishers of men.”
He went a little further and saw some fishermen mending their nets. Again He made them basically the same offer.
No talk of a probationary period, no penalty, no sin box. Just follow me.
And they made mistakes. Peter denied Christ. Thomas doubted Him. Other disciples showed their carnal side by arguing over who was going to sit on His right in His Kingdom — still no penalty box.
And what about the woman at the well? She ran into town and began to share her testimony of meeting Christ the Messiah and started a revival in Samaria.
And the woman caught in the act of adultery, she was forgiven and told go and not sin again. In other words, she was to go and change her ways but no mention of a sin box.
Aren’t we expected to be as forgiving as Christ is?
Oh, I can see that if there is a pattern of bad behavior. Christians make mistakes but we are not to go and practice sin. If that is the case then a person should indeed set out for a while and possibly even go through a period of counseling in order to help him or her to become an overcomer as fast as the habitual sinning is concerned.
When habitual sin, or a willingness to live in sin is concerned, one may not understand what the Bible has to say about the transgression, or he or she may want the title of being a Christian but may not have the commitment to live the life of a follower of Christ.
Such a situation gives opportunity for those who are spiritual to “restore such a one.”
During the process, a “penalty box” may be required.