This is a short reflection essay I wrote for my class on sin.
Sin can encompass a variety of actions that unfortunately our society views as normal. The word sin has lost its significance and no longer causes people to feel remorse in their actions. It has been my experience that for many years the Church has placed certain sin above others. Actions such as lying and pride have been overshadowed by fornication and stealing. Yet can we really afford to label certain sin as worse? Perhaps looking at sin in the way Grenz describes might benefit the church. He states that sin is “…any attitude or action that us ungodly, that does not mirror God, that fails to reflect the manner in which God would think or act.”*
While the Bible explains in detail the different faces of sin, we choose to say that my “sin” isn’t as bad as my neighbor’s “sin”. When we begin to distinguish ourselves as someone who is “better” than others then we devalue the sacrifice God made for us. We refuse to accept that the sin that we commit on a daily basis has any effect on our community. Yet it is pride, lies and greed that break down the church before any other type of sin comes into play. These sins affect the community that has been established within our church and affects the potential we have to reach those who have not yet known Christ.
When we look at redemption and the power of forgiveness from the point that certain sin has more weight than others, we minimize the significance of our salvation. I was once encouraging a young man to get baptized and his response to me was, “I don’t think I’ve been that bad. There are so many other things I might do wrong because of the places I am in my life, and if I were to get baptized now, I might waste it.” We continued to discuss repentance and how even after you have been baptized a person commits mistakes and sins, but that our salvation, repentance and baptism is never wasted. It saddened me that this young man who had practically been raised in the church did not grasp the weight of his sin and the need to seek forgiveness and repentance. I also had an experience of a newlywed couple with a small family that we were ministering to. Their response to an invitation to church was, “We’re in a pretty good place right now, and aren’t really doing anything bad to where we need to go to church.” Yet, how many of us have already sinned today and need repentance? How many of us have our current sins weighing down heavily and need to seek the face of God?
When the church loses focus on what sin is and its impact on our lives, we lose focus on what God does for us on a daily basis. That is, we ignore His saving grace, His mercy, His everlasting love.
*Grenz, Stanley J. Theology for the Community of God. (Michigan: William B. Ferdmans Publishing Company. 1994) 186
Lord Jesus I am hungry for You! I need you more and more each day. I need you to fill me with your love, to cover me with your grace, to protect me with your mercy. I need your spirit to live in me, to guide me. I need your strength because I am so weak. With each passing day I realize how broken I am, and that only you can make me whole. You restore my life on a daily basis. No one else can love me the way you can. No one else can speak to me the way that you can. In my quietness is when I hear you the loudest. I am a vessel for you Father. Fill me!
Last night I wrote a short essay on what defines us as humans. What saddens me is that I believe that those essential parts of what makes us who we are, are being lost. While animals are capable of caring and love, what sets us apart from them is the fact that we can choose to unite and support one another. We can choose to create an environment of equality and hope, yet instead we are taking this gift that God has given us and thrown it in the trash. God’s purpose for us was not to kill, hate and destroy each other. His purpose for us was to be stewards of the blessings He has provide. When was the last time you showed compassion to someone? The last time you reflected your humanity on this world? We are too caught up in our own selfishness to realize that we are destroying this beautiful world that God created for us.
While I know a huge part of the chaos in the world began with the “fall” of man, I believe God has given us the opportunity to redeem ourselves. Yet we haven’t….in fact we have done the exact opposite. The Bible tells us that when Cain killed Abel, Abel’s blood cried out to God (Gen. 4:10). How many more souls have died today whose blood is crying out to God. How many lives are suffering because humanity refuses to act human. Instead we want power, wealth, fame, control….
How can we continue to be human when we believe that one person’s hurt is more important than another. That one person who is suffering deserves less compassion because of their ethnicity, gender, location, culture. We as humans have been called to care for this world. We have been called to care for each other. Yet we are refusing to do just that.
I am glad that we have an everlasting hope of our Father Jesus, and that He has bestowed on us His grace and compassion, but what are we doing with it. When are we going to start acting human again?
Full disclosure—I used to work at the Houston Area Women’s Center, so I definitely have some strong feelings about this. Keep in mind, however, that I speak only for myself on this blog.
I’m really upset that the Houston Astros have left the Houston Area Women’s Center in the lurch as far as the gala this year. I know the people and the programs that will suffer without those funds, and let me tell you, it will hurt.
I’d like to suggest some constructive next steps the parties involved in this meltdown might take to not just repair the damage, but to launch a new partnership that is beneficial to each party and the larger community.
I don’t know about you but when I totally bomb an oral presentation I usually just want to hide my head in a hole. Luckily I’m at a seminary so everyone was really nice and supportive. So how does one bomb an oral presentation? Lemme just tell you….
You pick a book about a religion or topic you know nothing about.
You purchase the book that you’re presenting on through Kindle and your computer erases all the notes and highlights you’ve been doing for the last couple of weeks.
You don’t take a good look at the rubric for the presentation and think it is similar to the rubric for the paper….yea it’s not the same thing.
When you read the book you focus on one topic and it happens to NOT be the focus you were supposed to look at.
Your slide show sucks so you choose not to use it in the last minute.
You apologize profusely to your classmates for not having “it” together.
You say that “this” book was not your friend.
Instead of presenting for 20 minutes you present for about 8-10.
On a positive note, I kicked butt on the Q & A. It’s not that I did not get the book(well that was part of it), its just that my presentation was HORRIBLE!
So this past weekend I got 2 awesome emails which will keep me even busier than what I already am. Who would want that?? Apparently me! I guess working full time, going to school, teaching Sunday school and singing in the choir was not doing enough. You are now looking at the coordinator of the “Kid Zone” VBS classes for my church, as well as a new contributing blogger for Juan of Words blog site. Both are super exciting opportunities for me, and both I’ve had some experience with, but not to this level.
Email 1 was from my friend Juan who has an awesome blog about Mexican lifestyle and Latino culture. When I first got the email last week I was wondering if he really sent that to me. I had to read it a couple of times to make sure. Then when I was sure I was like whoa! I felt so humbled at the fact that they would think of me when looking for something to contribute. Like most of you who are now following my blog know, I’m pretty new to this whole blog thing. So today was my official “first day” of posting a blog. Feel free to check it out here.
The 2nd email was from our Sunday School department asking me to coordinate the “Kid Zone” area of our VBS program this summer. Basically I will be in charge of the section for 4-5 year olds. It might not seem like a big deal for you guys but it’s actually a really awesome opportunity too. Every year my church ( The Pentecostals of Katy) do a HUGE VBS program. It’s always over the top, and the kids always have a blast! This year’s theme is Carnival Coaster Crazy….or something like that lol. So basically we’re thinking of these awesome ideas to decorate our church and what not. Last year’s theme was Sky, we did some pretty crazy awesome decorating for it.
If you look closely there’s a plane hanging from the ceiling and that was just the beginning.
So those two things added with everything else going on in my life are going to continue to keep me a pretty busy girl. Like I’ve said before, I love being busy and well seeing as I’m not taking any classes this summer, I’ll haves some down time.
I’ll keep you guys updated with all that’s going on.
Don’t forget to check out my Juan of Words blog every once in a while to see more of my post.