Sin is not a popular subject. Traditional teaching on sin has overemphasized its negative aspects to the extreme. Fear has been used as a tactic that has scared people and scarred people. These results—intended or not—have forced the Church to adjust to a more loving approach. Now, we reach out to people with care—hoping to restore broken relationships. The attitude surrounding the intention is definitely more positive in nature. But, where does sin find a place in the “new" world?
This question is for the Christians. How do you feel when sin shows up in your church family?
Are you surprised when the young lady finds herself pregnant and alone? Are you shocked when the business person is caught in a tangled mess of unethical practises? Or, when the family is torn apart by unfaithfulness? If you are stunned by the appearance of sin in people, have you ever wondered exactly why that is?
Our culture—or the forces driving our culture—does an excellent job of convincing people that sin (anything outside of God’s character, intentions, or pursuits) is perfectly acceptable for us to internalize, visualize, or strive for. But, I don’t think our culture can be blamed for the confusion we encounter in local sin. If anything, our culture encourages desensitization to sin. Our opponents would rather see us comfortable with sin, instead of being surprised by it.
Does that mean we are the ones creating the problem? Are Christians so optimistic they can only see the good in other people? I doubt it. To our detriment, I see the same amount of criticism in Christians as in anyone who calls themselves a human being on the planet Earth. No, I think the problem lies in our pride: Our unwillingness to prepare for the failure in others is inherently connected to our unwillingness to address our own. The acknowledgement of our sin is painful and humbling. So we, and our leaders, are often reluctant to ask the awkward questions—to put ourselves in a vulnerable position.
The fact is, Christians should be the most ready, the most aware and the most understanding of someone dealing with sin. Remember,
“…all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” - Romans 3:23
I want to leave you with a reminder:
“It is the grace of the Gospel, which is so hard for the pious to understand, that it confronts us with the truth and says: You are a sinner, a great, desperate sinner; now come, as the sinner that you are, to God who loves you. He wants you as you are; He does not want anything from you, a sacrifice, a work; He wants you alone.” - Dietrich Bonhoeffer