Wednesday, August 26, 2015

The "S" Word (No, Not THAT One)

Let's talk about sin.

I know, it's not popular. It's uncomfortable. It's awkward.

But sin is in all of us. It comes from within. It is not the result of some outward force invading our lives. We are not born inherently good. In fact, due to the Original Sin in the Garden of Eden, we are all born inherently sinful.

With all of the media attention on Ashley Madison and Planned Parenthood, I needed to take a step back. When I did, I found that at the root of both of these hot-button topics is one thing...sin.

We like to use the phrase "Love the sinner, hate the sin," but that is not actually based in scripture. It is based on a quote by St. Augustine "cum dilectione homium et odio vitiorum" which loosely translates to "with love for mankind and hatred for sins". 

The truth is, God hates sin. Sin separates us from God. Sin places a great canyon between our Heavenly Father and His children.

But there is hope, sweet friends! God sent His son so bridge the gap. God's grace through the sacrifice of Christ covers all of our sin and draws us back to Him. 
But wait. How does this apply to the issues currently at hand? Does this mean that the baby-murderers at Planned Parenthood get off scot-free? Does it mean that the adulterers on Ashley Madison do not reap the consequences of their actions?

In a

God has promised forgiveness for our sins. Christ paid the ultimate price for sin so that we do not have to. Our sins on this earth will not have eternal consequences if we confess them and ask God's forgiveness.

Just in case you missed it, that last part there, we must confess our sins and ask God's forgiveness.

Y'all. Sin is real. Sin is ever-present in our lives. God's promise of forgiveness and grace does not alleviate the consequences of our actions here on earth.  It also does not allow us to just believe and then behave however we desire. God calls us to accountability. He calls us to identify our sin, name it, call it out, and confess it.

We cannot receive His grace without first recognizing our desperate need for it.

And the way we do that is calling sin what it is...sin.

Adultery is sin. Murder is sin. Anything that separates us from God, anything that goes against His will...that is sin.

So what does that mean for us?

You may be thinking "I didn't have an abortion" or "I have never cheated" so these issues don't impact my life. But that is not true, dear reader!

There are no "better" sins or "worse" sins. Sin is sin. Plain and simple. Sin is ANYTHING that separates us from God. We are all guilty of sin.

So now that I have beaten you over the head with the club of "sin", I am going to tell you the end of the story.

God wins. Sin dies.

Just as God's grace through Jesus' death on the cross covers our sin, it covers ALL sin. Even murder. Even adultery. Because the story didn't end with death. It ended with life. Eternal life. Sin killed God's son. Sin kills us. But grace redeems. Jesus didn't stay on that cross or in that tomb.

Forgiveness can only come when we recognize that there is a need for it. Grace can only cover our sin if we know we are sinful.

Jenny Block recently wrote in her article "Here's Why It Makes Perfect Sense That Josh Duggar Cheated" in the Huffington Post:

"Can we please stop pretending that religion can somehow alter human behavior?"

As a whole, I was completely appalled at the article in which she calls humans animals and that abstinence and monogamy are against our nature and that "there is nothing wrong with sex outside of marriage between two enthusiastically consenting adults". However, she hit the nail on the head with this question.

Religion cannot alter human behavior. The process of following rules and jumping through hoops in an effort to be "good enough" cannot change our innate predisposition to sin. 

Only God can. Only God.