Sin has always been an unpopular topic. Unless we are speaking of something as innocuous as chocolate, I know, some of you are thinking. “Tammy chocolate is anything but innocuous.” But, that is a topic for another blog.
When I was a young rebel, I loved my sin. I was not impressed with religious people who needed to point out my sin. I worked at an eatery in downtown Nashville on Sundays. This is when the religious crowd came in for lunch, most were bossy, graceless and left lousy tips. I had little patience for such people, one weekend I was written up for ‘huffing’ at a customer. As my boss wrote the word on the warning slip, we both smiled. She resolved the issue and removed me from the Sunday schedule. As a self-actualized sinner, I can tell you I did not want to leave my sinful ways, especially if it meant returning to the place of the Sunday restaurant patrons.
Sin has many definitions: Biblically it is ‘missing the mark’ – ‘falling short of the glory of God’ – open and defiant rebellion against God. One preacher’s definition that resonates with me is that sin is: “meeting a legitimate need illegitimately.” For example, humans have a legitimate need for intimacy. Sometimes this legitimate need causes some to run headlong into unhealthy and even immoral relationships in an effort to find intimacy.
Whether it is an unredeemed unrepentant sinner, which I once was. Or whether it is redeemed folks who endeavor to press forward in discipleship: basically sin is not a popular topic.
Sins of passion are the easiest to repent from because the behavior is evident. Sins of passions go way beyond sexual sin by the way. It may include gluttony, abusive anger or even murder. An individual may have a compulsion towards certain behaviors, and may feel powerless against the compulsion.
If you are a follower of Christ, sin fills you with conviction and shame. Note I wrote conviction not condemnation, according to Romans 8:1 “there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ.” But He will convict you, because your actions have put a wedge in your relationship with Him. Convictions calls us to repent, to “confess our sins, [because] he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sin, and purify us from all unrighteousness.” James the brother of Christ even encourages us to ‘confess sins to each other, and pray for each other so that healing will come.’ Many sins are easy to identify and repent of. The more difficult sins are the sins of the heart. These are the silent killers, the sins that lurk deep in the covert corners of the heart.
Whether you are a follower of Christ or not a follower, the issue of sin is just a matter of how you deal with it. As a Christian we have an advocate and we have the Holy Spirit who fills us with the power to overcome our sinful compulsions.
With unbelievers sin is obvious, it is honest and open. But with believers the church environment becomes a place filled with “mask-wearers” who deal with secret struggles AKA sin.
My experience inside or outside the doors of the church is that sin is an unpopular topic. Christians will come forward to ask for physical healing long before they come to an altar and openly confess the sin that is ‘tripping them up.’ Perhaps if they came forward to deal with the sin, they may be healed.
If a preacher were to make a public invitation for all who struggled with sin to stand up, I can assure you very few would stand. They would be too concerned about what other Christians would think. By definition it is the ‘sin of pride’ that keeps them from standing, but they are too proud to see it.