I'm off to Las Vegas today!
Those are words I never thought I'd write. After successfully avoiding any travel there (except for a brief airport connection), I've made the deliberate choice to fly to America's notorious "Sin City." (Thankfully, WITH my wife.) One of my children qualified to compete in the 2021 Ultimate Ninja World Series Championship Finals, so off we go.
Las Vegas is probably the most famous "sin city" in the world, though it's certainly not the only one. Rio de Janeiro, Tel Aviv, Shanghai, Amsterdam all come to mind. Even other US cities get the moniker, from large well-known cities like Miami to others you've never heard of. Lynn, Massachusetts even has its own rhyme --- "Lynn, Lynn, the city of sin; you never come out the way you went in."
Aside from 24/7 drinking and gambling, there are other vices available 24/7 in Vegas, too. Ladies of the evening are never in short supply. (Or late afternoon, early morning or … well, whenever, for that matter.) Of course, where you have booze, broads and cards you're going to have tons of money changing hands, so organized crime is a major factor in Sin City, too. And with them comes the human trafficking of sex workers, violent enforcement, gangs, and so on.
My mother once attended a national dental convention in Las Vegas with a friend of hers. One of the patients at her friend's dental office was a major Boston mob boss for the largest national crime syndicate in the USA. I'll call him John Smith. When he found out they were going to Vegas, he said he'd "take care of things" for them. Everywhere they went in Vegas, whether to dinner or a show, their bill came to the table signed "Compliments of Mr. John Smith." When they called to make reservations to see Sammy Davis Jr's sold-out show, they were simply asked what time they'd like to go. Upon their arrival they were brought past the lines waiting to enter, across a velvet rope line, and seated inside a special VIP area directly adjacent to the stage. Obviously, Sammy did not know my Mom (or perhaps anyone sitting at those four special tables), but he certainly knew WHY they were there; and his performance had a high degree of interaction with his "favorite friends."
Sin is seditious and sneaky. It's been disguising itself with claims of desire, wisdom and beauty since the Garden of Eden. The oldest profession in the world promises experiences of sensual pleasures beyond your imaginations. But the babes are the bait, and you are only the target. Sin initially promises to hide you in its darkness, protecting your anonymity. But grand promises notwithstanding, what happens in Vegas DOES NOT stay in Vegas.
Regardless of what sin promises to deliver, there are three things it will ALWAYS do. Sin will always take you farther than you ever intended to go. Sin will always cost you more than you ever thought it could. Sin will always destroy more that you ever thought possible.
THOSE are the things sin delivers -- compromise beyond comprehension, cost beyond calculation and destruction and devastation beyond imagination. Sadly, I didn't learn these lessons by reading about them in some book somewhere. I've learned them the hard and painful way. And so have you. Sin has burned us all. Sin has ruined things we held dear in every one of our lives. We've all taken the bait, all been hooked, all fallen. We all need a saviour.
Thankfully, He is standing by with His arms open wide -- waiting for you and I to call upon His Name!!!
I'm going to Vegas, but I am not afraid. I'm not going alone. Will my wife be with me? Of course. But she is not the one protecting my eyes and my thoughts, and my heart.
My Savior has promised me and said, "I AM WITH YOU." And HE ALWAYS delivers on His promises.
Lynn's rhyme actually got it right. Once you've entered sin, you never get out the way you came in. You came in by believing lies and deceptions that were only intended to destroy you. You entered alone. But you get out of sin by deciding to believe promises that will deliver and restore you. The only way out of sin city is with Jesus. You never get out the way you came in because you never leave alone. Then He never leaves you, and THAT'S A PROMISE YOU CAN BELIEVE IN.