I get this feeling that society is so quick to chalk up things we do wrong as “mistakes”, “missteps”, and “learning experiences”. That explains the result but it doesn’t do anything to address the root issue – so you’re bound to repeat it again. I feel that as Christians we sometimes adopt that philosophy.
In addition to replacing the word “sin” with “mistakes”, we may minimize sin by justification, shifting blame, or simply ignoring it.
“My best friend has been sleeping with her boyfriend for years and they are Christians and everything seems to be going okay with them so I’m doing it too.”
“Yeah, I talked behind her back and told other people private things about her.. but they’ve been so catty and mean to me recently.”
Ignoring it is self-explanatory – you simply don’t discuss it – you don’t address it – you treat it as if it doesn’t exist. We do it. We feel bad. We try and forget it – pretend it doesn’t exist. Repeat. Over and over until the day it’s consequences are revealed and we’re destroyed emotionally and spiritually.
So back to “mistakes”. I think this is the big one. We say it was a “learning experience”. Sure, when you sin, you are making a mistake and there is always the opportunity to learn from it. But a mistake without redemption is death. If we treated mistakes as spiritual death, maybe we wouldn’t be so quick to say that we just “made a mistake”.
When you minimize sin you minimize the gift of God’s grace and mercy. You minimize the importance of Jesus!
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. -John 3:16
Without Jesus we will perish.
Sin is not your master unless you chose to live under law rather than under grace. -Andy Stanley
If you minimize sin in some way or another and can agree that doing so also minimizes the importance of Christ’s death and resurrection than what is the point of being a Christian? To live morally? There are plenty of “good” moral people on earth who aren’t Christians. But their story ends. That leads me to another point. How do you share this with others? Everything about sin is messy. The actions. The thoughts. The consequences – both here on earth and in eternity. It was awkward when sin entered the world – when Adam and Eve realized they were naked – and it’s awkward now when we have to share this with non-Christians. You can take the approach of some churches and preach brimstone and fire or you can take a more loving and concerned approach – a more gospel centered angle. While the issue of sin is difficult to discuss – it’s not exactly one of those uplifting-go-get-’em encouraging topics – it should be discussed with a sense of urgency.
Now, none of this is to say that you should dwell on your sin and wallow in your inability to do anything right. Quite the contrary, in fact! Yeah, we’re sinners. Confess the sin. Call it what it is. Then accept that those sins have been paid for. Sins are not your master. Following a law isn’t going to work. The only thing that works is grace. The beauty of the whole grace thing, the gospel, is that no matter how much we fall short – Jesus’ death and Resurrection has erased our sin in the eyes of God – forever. So while we should identity, confess, and repent of our sin and pray for strength to be stronger in the future – we should not let it control our lives and hold us down. Jesus took that burden from us! We’re free. Free to live for Christ – out of utter appreciation. That’s it.
For what the law was powerless to do because it was weakened by the flesh, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in the flesh. -Romans 8:3
And because there are much wiser and creative people than I out there, I’ll end with a very relevant snippet of a song called Brokenness Aside by All Sons & Daughters:
‘Cause I am a sinner
If its not one thing its another
Caught up in words
Tangled in lies
You are the Savior
And You take brokenness aside
And make it beautiful
(This post was originally conceived on December 30th at Urbana – but I never got around to finishing it up and posting it until now. The whole time thing – need to make space!)