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