Sin. Why is that word so taboo?
Facebook has opened up another avenue, a tremendous avenue, of public discourse. Before this social arena, of course, we had opinion columns and letters to the editors in our newspapers, and even before that, we had speakers on park corners spouting notions about one thing or another. This is good. Our country’s founding fathers found it to be so good and so important that they even included the concept in our nation’s constitution.
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances. (U. S. Constitution, Amendment 1)
I am very grateful for the opportunity to live out my faith in Christ, to speak about anything, to gather with others peaceably and to even write a letter to my government officials about my concerns. United States citizens, myself included, take this freedom for granted. Too many of us are either unaware or callous to the fact that much of the world does not share those same rights.
So, because of this liberty, each and every person on Facebook, just for example, is able to write a post or a comment regarding personal beliefs. Again, this is all good. However, the problem arises when we resort to acting like third graders on the playground in our responses to others’ comments and beliefs. Assuming the worst in people, grouping all people into one stereotypical category, name-calling, running on emotions…this is what we grown-ups need to rise above. For people who deny Jesus Christ and live with a secular worldview (meaning that the natural world guides their understanding and wisdom about everything), if you happen to be reading this, please understand that Christians live with a biblical worldview. We believe that the Bible is infallible, inerrant and the absolute standard of Truth. It is our Rock. Truth does not shift from one decade to the next. Truth does not apply in one circumstance, yet change in another. God guides us and He is a good, omnipotent God. And, Christians, let’s remember that people who deny Christ will say things that are not biblical. They will do things that are not biblical. So, as we are commanded in the Word, let’s show them Christ. How? They will know we are Christians by our love.
Love is not all “touchy feely, anything goes, let’s just be happy”, though. As the song goes, sometimes “love hurts”. But, when love hurts, let’s be sure that the hurt comes from the realization of our sin’s offensiveness to a holy God and not from my rude behavior and snarky words.
So, to return to my opening sentence, why is “sin” such a taboo word in our culture today? The other day, as I was talking with my friend, I thought of an illustration that may help explain. If you’ve ever had a problem with cussing, you may relate to this illustration. Let’s say you find yourself with a bad habit of swearing like a sailor. Your friends swear, the TV shows and movies you watch are filled with curse words, it’s just commonplace to your ears. But, you have victory over this habit of swearing and begin to surround yourself with people who aren’t cussers, you stop filling your ears with the coarse words and pretty soon you rarely hear such words. Then, one day you decide to watch a movie that you enjoyed back in high school. You remember all the fun parts, the songs, and you want to re-visit this great movie. After the first five minutes, your ears are about ready to bleed because it is filled with cuss words and “f-bombs”, but the funny thing is that you don’t even remember that being an issue back when you watched it years ago. Well, you had been de-sensitized to the cussing the first time you watched the movie. But, now, it’s a different story. The coarse words are hitting you like a brick wall. Now, the word “sin” is the same way. If you go to a church where sin is rarely talked about, where everyone is accepted just as they are with no exhortation to confess sins and repent and follow Jesus, or if you are in the world and sin is never ever discussed, then whenever a Christian mentions that something is called a sin by God, the brick wall hits you and you recoil at the word “sin” like I recoil at an “f-bomb”. It’s like a “sin-bomb”! Yet, if you go to a church that is faithful to present the gospel in its entirety, showing us our sin and leading us to our Savior from that sin, then you are familiar with the word “sin”. When someone, in great love, comes to you and challenges you to see your sin and reject that sin, you don’t recoil or yell at them or make excuses…you hear them and go to God in prayer.
Christians, we must be faithful to the Word of God. We must be bold to proclaim what is sin and what is not sin. We must not compromise with the world and begin to change the gospel of Christ to be more palatable. Sin is offensive to God. And, it can be very offensive to us to hear about our sin. But, we must get over ourselves if we want REAL happiness, or joy, and if we want REAL peace, and, most of all, if we want eternal life and not eternal condemnation.
Is this a little fire and brimstone? Yes, probably so. But, I’m finding that it’s becoming such a blurred line between Christians and the world that we must ask God for the courage to stand firm on His Word and not step into the shifting sand of our culture’s relative truths. Christians, be bold. Open your eyes and ‘see’ the mighty warriors of angels standing all around us, ‘see’ the crowd of witnesses who have gone before us, ‘see’ Jesus, at the right hand of the Father, interceding on our behalf, and stand firm!