A sin is a sin….is a sin (or…what I should have written) Part 1

I need to apologize…I have to admit that I’ve been lazy this week about my posts and I’m feeling bad about it. The last week, God has been leading me to write about something and I just haven’t wanted to take the time…it’s not that I don’t want to write, it’s just that there have been so many other things going on and I haven’t wanted to take the time to think it through and sit down and just do it. I’ve had that sort of nagging feeling, “you should really sit down and write something about faith today” pretty much every day this week, and I’ve been writing what I’d say when I finally got around to it in my head all week long. There have even been little moments when verses that go with it have popped up here and there, or something I’ve read has gone along with my thoughts. So I know by now I darn well should have taken the time, and I haven’t! Then, this morning at church our friend Phil taught…and sure enough he said exactly what I’d been thinking about writing all week long! In fact, the title of this post, which I had planned out a few days ago but kept putting off (minus the ‘what I should have written’ part, of course) was mentioned in his sermon verbatim. Wouldn’t it have been cool if I’d have gone ahead and written it when I should have? Sorry, God.

Anyway…here’s my thought.

A sin…is a sin…is a sin. This is an important thing to think about and to remember, and it really makes a difference for several reasons. Let me see if I can get my thoughts out straight.

First point: What’s a sin? Is it possible that some people don’t sin? I could go into this one point for hours, but of course I think we’d all pretty much agree that everybody sins at one point or another at the very least. To “sin”, according to the original Biblical meaning of the word, means “to miss the mark.” The mark, in this case, is the standard of perfection established by God and evidenced by Jesus. If you want to read more about it, here’s a good website.

So, what does that mean? Well, in a nutshell….God is perfect. We are not. Basically, wherever we fall short of perfection is sin. Jesus was able to make it through life without sin, because he was God. For the rest of us, having a 1oo% human pedigree means…sin.

Let’s face it…no matter how hard to try to be ‘good’, you’re going to blow it eventually. In fact I challenge you to try this….be perfect in your thoughts, mood, attitude, and actions for…let’s see…for 15 minutes. That’s not too long, right? Forgive the arrogance, but in general people probably would consider me a pretty ‘good’ person, I’m a church going Christian, I pay my taxes, I obey the law, I’m generally nice to people. I can honestly say, though, that I’d fail the 15 minute test. Part of it might be due to the fact that trying to be perfect would cause little inappropriate thoughts to pop into my head like mental Tourette’s induced by effort of trying to be perfect (yeah, I’ve got a bit of that in me). But part of it is…well…it’s just not possible to be good all the time. I can usually manage not to say or do anything offensive, but at the very least I can guarantee you that I can’t avoid thinking something bad, probably even for 15 minutes. Try it if you want…and let me know if you succeed! If you do, I want to know how you managed it. Romans 3:23 says: “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (italics mine).

So, if you’ve gotten this far and can agree with me that sin exists and that we all sin, here is my second point. How do you ‘grade’ sin? Is one sin greater than another? That’s a really tough one. Here’s the thing…there are certainly some sins whose consequences here on Earth are greater than others. It will, for example, cause more damage to society if I decide to blow up my local supermarket because I am upset that I have to wait in line for half an hour than if I stand there in the line and complain loudly about the ineptitude of the checker, the inadequacy of the management and the overindulgent nature of the person in front of me with the 2,000 items in her cart. One option will cause serious damage and heartache while the other will only cause a few people to have to listen to my bad attitude, perhaps create a bit of angst in a few other patrons, and make me look like a jerk. However, neither choice is a good one and both of them are sins. Are you following me?

Here on Earth there would be different consequences for those different sins. But how does God see it?

I hate to, but I’m going to break off here and continue this post later. I promise I won’t leave you hanging long, but this is getting long and I’m thinking it’s too much to digest all at once right now…at least I’m feeling like I need a quick break. So, part two is coming!

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