Sin

That’s a dirty word, isn’t it? How often do you hear people use that word? Other than your pastor or some TV preacher, how often do you hear it actually spoken? It’s a mean word. It’s the only word you can speak which accuses and self incriminates at the same time. I hate being called a sinner, because I don’t want to be one. I hate calling others sinners because it forces me to look in the mirror. But what is sin?

Sin at it’s core is anything that falls outside of God’s law. [1 John 3:4] This is a pretty simple concept. Laws are created to protect people and to set a standard for acceptable behavior, plain and simple. Therefore God’s laws were set up to protect us and show us the best way to live. The problem with today’s society is we don’t worship the same God, and a lot of us don’t worship any god, so the rules change and become relative. And a relative morality is no morality at all. But that’s a subject for another post.

So we all think of sin differently. Some accept the fact that they are sinners but seem to do everything to hide it, because they feel powerless or are simply unwilling to change. Some just accept it, feel bad about it, but don’t really care to change it. It’s the “I’m no worse than everyone else” syndrome. Others claim they don’t sin at all and are offended by the label. And still others wallow in their sin, call it “normal”, and take pride in the fact that they can do it without guilt. I think however that being sinners is something we have to acknowledge, because the Bible teaches us that it is what we are. [Romans 3: 23] But it also teaches us that we must strive to change those patterns in our behavior and fall in line with God’s law. Which is not always easy.

It’s not easy because temptation just seems to creep up on you when you least expect it. It catches the corner of your eye and makes you do a double take. It pops up on your screen. It fills your glass. It’s sleek and shiny. It goes fast. It’s expensive. It’s soft and smells good. You know what I’m talking about. Then once it has your attention it pulls you in with promises of excitement and contentment and satisfaction and recognition and respect and reward. And as soon as you bite, you’re hooked. And for a brief moment in time, it fulfills it’s promise. But the pleasure of sin is always short lived and ultimately unfulfilling. And I don’t think I need to quote a scripture to prove that.

What’s encouraging though is that even though temptation is powerful, there’s always a chance to make a choice, to escape. [1 Corinthians 10:13] I think we’ve all been at that point, knowing we were about to do something really wrong, then backing down when we couldn’t take the screaming of our conscience. Unfortunately for most of us there’s probably been more times when we ignored that voice and kicked the door of sin wide open and jumped through head first. But the choice is always ours, that’s a promise, and that’s encouraging because it says we’re not helpless. We’re not alone.

So we have hope of combating future sin. But what about past sins? Sins are cumulative. They collect like hair in the drain; invisible until they choke off the flow of water and everything overflows. They need to be cleaned out because even if I become perfect tomorrow, I’m still carrying the baggage of sins I committed yesterday. And that’s where forgiveness and redemption come in. I’m going to comment on that in a future post.