My friend who is a professor-scholar-pastor, Allan R. Bevere wrote a a helpful piece on how we are sinners, not merely people who are essentially good, but who make mistakes here and there. Yes, we can call them mistakes, but when we do so, we may be giving short shrift, or even giving the lie to the biblical witness that we are sinners indeed. Sin is not even a word which fits into the world’s vocabulary. We simply need more knowledge, more enlightenment, then we’ll do what is good and right, whatever that means, of course by the standards we set. Even the idea of evil, as strange as that may seem given the horrific acts and even systems which remain and enslave as well as destroy people, still, evil is a bit of a taboo word as well, and certainly sin.
I suppose it reminds too many people of perhaps a bad experience they’ve had at the hands of religion. Sadly enough, sin knows no boundaries and infects us all, so that we’re all in need of change, in Christian terms forgiveness and cleansing, and that, ongoing.
To admit the possibility of a concept like sin, is to acknowledge something of a standard of what’s right and wrong, good and bad. We would do well to work at rehabilitating prisoners, but we have prisons for good reason. Some people have broken what are considered boundaries which cannot be crossed, such as the taking of a life. Those might be considered extremes, but consider Jesus’s teaching: If one is angry with their brother and sister they are in danger of harboring murder in their hearts (Matthew 5:21-26). John tells us that anyone who hates a brother or sister is a murderer in their hearts (1 John 3:15).
One might as well deny the concept of love as in caring about someone else (not just love because of what one can get out of it) and doing so in self-sacrificial ways. We all need help in that way, more than that, each other’s love along the way.
We have the pattern in Jesus Christ, the one who laid down his life for us and for the world. The one who brings us into the one love from which all genuine love comes from through creation and new creation: the love of the Trinity: the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. The cross was no accident. We in Jesus have to go through nothing less than death into new, resurrection life.
Let’s gladly accept the reality of our sin, so that we can even more gladly accept the life-changing power of God’s salvation in and through Jesus.