Monday, November 29, 2010

What's This About Sin?

The word "sin" has such a negative connotation to it. It brings images to mind of a naked man and woman in the Garden of Eden or images of sweaty preachers screaming about hell. Sin-- well, it's just so religious. Just as there is a God in heaven, there is a devil in hell, and I am certain that devil must giggle with glee at this religious connotation. It is this connotation that waters the word down and turns it into an act done only by Old Testament characters not by anyone in the year 2010.

I believe that sin is the word for that broken place inside every human being. It is from our broken and wounded places that we come up with some of our worst ideas. Just by being born human, we are born with the capacity for being wounded. Our potential gets trampled by other human beings, often unknowingly and unintentionally. Nonetheless, who we should and could have been (peaceful and connected with God) is altered into someone who is broken and forever seeking to mend the breaks with people and activities that will never really mend it. Sin. If you were born into a family system, whether that includes a Mom and Dad or a group home director, you have been altered from the self God created you to be. Welcome to the human race. You are now a sinner, just because you were born. Sin is not just the mean-spirited and/or selfish behaviors we may engage in. Sin is any thought or feeling that takes you away from the peace and connection you were meant to have with God. There's nothing religious about that!

Really, my entire blog is a blog about sin. It's about addictions, lusts, revenge, anxiety, depression, and conflict. But there is some good news! This blog is also about getting cleaned up from sin. I can be healed of my addictions and mood swings. I don't have to spend the rest of my life finding some great new strategy to finally gain peace (although there are many wonderful things we can do). I don't have to spend the rest of my life white-knuckling it through cravings and withdrawal (although there may be necessary periods of this as well).
There is a wonderful verse that keeps this all so simple, "For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord" Romans 6:23, The Holy Bible, New International Version. It is through a simple and effortless faith that my wounded places are healed. This is a free gift from God, an extended hand to me and a promise to be made free from my own sin. I do nothing but just believe it.

The 12 Steps guide us through this healing. Step One: We admitted we were powerless over others, alcohol, food, narcotics, sex and love, SIN. I cannot heal myself. Step Two: We came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity. There is a power that can heal what I cannot. Step Three: Turned our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him. I love the kindness and the room for error in Step Three. We've all got such clouded understandings of God. Our God view has been distorted by misguided Sunday school teachers, by negligent fathers or abusive mothers, by rule-bound and shame-based churches. I don't know that my own distorted views will ever be made clear, but I just have to believe one thing about Jesus-- I can turn my will and my life over to Him and He'll take care of this sin problem. I can believe that!

Photos above found at:
Adam and Eve
Helping Hand


  1. You sinned!

    Well, not really, but you have a wrong slant. Well, I might be misunderstanding you...

    1. "You are now a sinner, just because you were born."
    You don't believe Jesus was born? Even Paul, when he wrote in Romans 7, didn't consider himself a sinner until the commandment came. We are born with the potential to sin. Your previous context? I had forgotten about it. Most depressed people will, I opine. I'm no good. I was born. Proves it.

    2. "mood swings"
    This has nothing to do with sin. Otherwise, those mood swings you see Jesus having (that time in the garden before being arrested was the biggest) were sins. The problem is not mood swings, that is part of being in a clay pot, same as Jesus was. The problem is thinking that mood is reality. Faith looks beyond the feelings, says this is reality oooooverrrr...There! If faith is placed in non-reality, then you are in trouble. Jesus looked beyond the pain of a temporary crucifixion to the reality of eternity glory.

    I think of it this way. There is a oasis in a desert. I can either get in the oasis, or stay out and gripe about the dryness. Anything that gets me out of the oasis is sin. That hill in the shape of an attractive dame, for instance... That rock, which looks like a tasty-looking apple that doesn't belong to me... That cloud of dust, shaping itself in multitudes of depressing realities—real dust when you get down to the nitty-gritty; but not the oasis.

    Those sins are merely symptoms of the disease of Sin. The idea that anything outside of the oasis will ever be of value is Sin.

    The oasis? "Abide in me and I in you."

  2. Thank you, Anonymous. You're right, I sinned! I really appreciate your comments and they got me thinking. You're right, I don't think I clarified myself very well. Maybe because I wasn't real sure myself until thinking it at an even deeper level! You're right, how could Jesus be born just like me and yet be without sin? Does this mean it is possible to be born and sinless? I personally think that's impossible and the only way Jesus was able to do it is because He is God and fathered by God. I'd like to do some more study on that.

    But you also make an even better point, mood swings are not sin. I considered that very heavily before writing it, because I didn't want any innocent person suffering with anxiety and depression to have the added guilt that their feelings are sin! Jesus felt sad. Jesus felt angry. Again, he was without sin, so the feeling itself was not sin. I believe the difference is that Jesus allowed his feelings to guide Him TO God rather than away. Thank you for your comments and pushing me to think further on it.

  3. Interesting post, and interesting read between you and anonymous. Thank you for sharing. Blessings.

  4. The word sin has a negative connotation because of religion - going all the way back to the idea of "original sin." It is labeled as bad and therefore we feel guilt and distress over things we consider "sinful."

    It's all so arbitrary, though. What is sin? Perhaps a very broad definition is easiest to work with - we could define sin as anything intentionally done that harms anyone. Of course, one has to include oneself in "anyone."

    But then we have to define "harm."

    It's interesting because it seems the very things that have been the most "sinful" in my life - sins I've committed and sins committed against me - are the things that have brought about the most growth and spirituality. Those are things I would not want to trade for anything, and so I once again ask what is sin? Is it really harmful if i end up ahead in the long run - if I end up in a place I could NOT have reached without said sin?

    This is the problem with dualism in general. To say "there is a God and therefore there must be a devil" is dualism. On the one hand, many religious people will say that God is everything while at the same time they give half the universe to the "devil".

    I don't believe there is "good and evil" or God and devil, and this is the reason "sin" is so hard to define. The painful things we live through make us who we are and bring us to places we could not reach if we lived our entire lives in peace. We have lessons to learn and we learn them because of the mistakes we and others make, not because everyone around us is perfect.

    We are imperfect beings and I believe that God - who is everything - has made us in this way for a reason. This "imperfection" is really perfect in that it brings us closer to God... and so even here - perfect, imperfect - dualism is not the reality.

  5. I think people who use the world "sin" are usually on an authority trip. Sin can only exist if one accepts a set of commandments handed down by a judgemental God. This also implies "the problem of evil" as it is often presented within the context of theology. If one truly holds to the idea of an omnipresent God, then "evil" as it is commonly defined is an impossibility. Thus sin, a concept so often used to support so many power structures, cannot exist.