The “S” Word

In modern society, we don’t want to say the word “sin.” In my generation, at least, the concept of sin has been so maligned that the word itself is uncomfortable to speak, even for those of us who know its reality. It’s one of those trigger words that automatically discredits the speaker, relegating something that should be serious to the level of unicorns and pixies.

Even among believers, the concept of sin is so misused that it has been rendered toxic (and before I could speak to society’s sin dysfunction, I have to look at the confusion in the church.)

Sin Among Christians

For a meaningful proof of this, take a concordance and look up the word sin. Do a quick count of how many times sin is associated with condemnation or destruction and how many times it is associated with forgiveness or repentance.

My point is simple: In God’s vocabulary, sin would be defined something like this: “Sin is man trying to run away from the best possible thing that could happen to him.” God’s vocabulary also has words in it like “condemnation” and “destruction” but their meanings are almost directly opposed to that of sin. Sin is damage done to our relationship with God that must be repaired.

Try this: When you think of sin, instead of associating it with condemnation or destruction, think of it in terms of a sad mistake to be fixed. As I’ve come to understand, that’s quite close to how God sees it.

Society’s malady

Secular society mocks sin in the same way that Atheism mocks God. To society, sin is the ultimate acknowledgment of personal guilt.

There are only two responses to such an acknowledgment. First is to accept and attempt to live with guilt (which leads us to the cross and Christ). Second is to deny the reality of that guilt.

This is the malady of society. They deny their guilt, and in so doing deny reality and substitute their own delusions. Because God’s reality is always there, the bedrock on which everything is built, the only way to deny it is to run from it. This can be done with mockery or simple denial, or by keeping one’s attention entirely away from that reality.

In the end, the reality is that our sin is a terrible separation from the God who loves us. It is not an arbitrary judgment on us or a condemnation. It is a simple acknowledgment that we’re running away from Him.

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