Brutal.  Not usually a pleasant word.  Its definition includes words like “cruel,” “violent,” “ruthless,” and “harsh.”  Definitely not a character trait you’d want to instill in your children.  But having said all that, let me say that there is a time to be brutal.  Brutally brutal.  In reading for our Men of the Word Bible study this week, a statement in the chapter jumped out at me.  It went like this: “The man who finishes strong keeps nothing back from the Lord.  He is brutal in dealing with sin in his own life because he does not want to dishonor God’s name and holiness.”  Now there’s a good perspective on how to deal with sin that may creep into our lives.  Be brutal.  And why not?  God destroyed cities and even nations because of sin.  He sent His own people into captivity because of sin.  The everlasting fire and brimstone of Revelation 21:8’s second death exist because of sin.  According to James 1:15, the outcome of sin is only and always death.  In fact, the innocent and holy Son of God died the most brutal of deaths.  Why?  Because of sin.  My sin.  Now if all this is true (and it is), then why do we tolerate, coddle, excuse, and sometimes even try to justify sin in our lives?  I don’t believe there’s an acceptable answer for that one.  There’s only one way to confront sin in our lives: be brutal.  Ruthless.  Direct.  Harsh.  No if’s, and’s, or but’s.  Proverbs 28:13 tells us, “He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy.”  Do you know what that means?  If we want to live in God’s mercy, we must show no mercy to our sin.  So when it comes to my sin, Lord, teach me to be brutal.