SIN NEEDS TO MAKE A COMEBACK
Sin. There I said it. People hate the word because it has been misused so much. You know what I am talking about ‘If you do not repent of your sins you will burn in hell for all eternity.’ Of course they mean your sins not theirs are the ones for which you will burn. It is a Christian way of claiming the moral high ground while often taking the loving low ground. I am convinced the concept of sin was not to bludgeon others with but to make us aware of the human condition. So it saddens me when we seem to be losing our awareness of the human condition and swapping it for a fantasy that the culture, world, and I am perfect.
Sin has two things it wants to communicate to us. First we all find ourselves in a world full of the sins our fathers and mothers built before we were even born. Racism, sexism, ageism, heterosexism, classism and all the other isms were in the air we first breathed. Even Jesus’ birth caused the death of hundreds of babies as Herod sought to extinguish any future pretenders to his throne. I have been born with white privilege from the moment I came into the world not of my choice or my effort. It just was. This is not to say we have not been born with good things but sin wants us to be aware of the bad.
We have not only inherited a culture that is tainted but we even have genetic make-ups that have been developed over centuries that may make us more susceptible to gluttony, alcoholism, quick tempers, and other characteristics we now know that at least in part are influenced by genetics.
Now if we do not recognize this inherited sin as it is called we are endanger of not being aware of the world about us. We will find ourselves being called out on our white privilege, sexism and defend ourselves by declaring such silly things as I am not a racist or sexist just because I spoke and acted like a racist or sexist. Instead of being aware and working on the culture you were born with and improving yourself without this concept you are doomed I say doomed to relive and reinforce it for the next generation. I was born into a racist culture but through the grace of God and a lot of work, interaction, learning, and changing I am no longer of this culture but of something new and different. There is the possibility to be beyond our culture we were brought in the world with but it is impossible to not be immersed in some kind of culture. And the bad news is no culture is perfect therefore we must ever be vigilant to not be of any culture as much as that is possible.
The second thing sin teaches us of the human condition is we are far from perfect. Not only have I come into a culture that is full of unwanted things, I am also capable of doing the wrong thing or being wrong even when I feel I am right. Paul said, to paraphrase, the things I want to do I do not do. The things I do not want to do I do. We have all been there haven’t we? If we are not aware of our potential to “sin” we are doomed to relive that history again and again. But when we know that we are capable of wrong we can hear the voices that in our lives that tell us that was not a good choice or that was less than kind. We can never admit fault or ask for forgiveness and never learn there might be another way.
The problem comes when we think sin makes us totally depraved without any goodness. Being caught in the web of the sin of culture or our own flaws does not take that goodness away from us. But the goodness is not in I feel like I am a good person. It instead relies on the fact that I am on a road to develop my goodness despite the sinful nature inside and the culture outside. Any goodness comes in attempting to do good.
Finally, stop being afraid of the human condition. We all sin and we all can do good. Take the condition you have been given and despite it work on doing good things.