Monday, April 22, 2013

What is sin? And who are sinners?

I asked my older 2 boys to define sin and these are the answers they gave me...

-lying, doing bad things to other people, like calling them names, and bullying

-like, lying.

I looked in up the dictionary and this is what I found...

1a : an offense against religious or moral law

b : an action that is or is felt to be highly reprehensible <it's a sin to waste food>
c : an often serious shortcoming : fault
a : transgression of the law of God
b : a vitiated state of human nature in which the self is estranged from God
When asked who sinners are they answered
-person who does bad things
-someone who does bad things and calls people names
The Bible tells us that sin is anything that separates us from God.  Sin cannot be near Him.  And this is what I thought about as I read the articles concerning the Boston Marathon Bombings.  The 2 suspects are sinners.  They've intentionally killed, maimed, and otherwise traumatized a nation.  There is no doubting it.  And I hate them for it.  And that, right there, is the hang up.  I hate them for what they've done to my country.  Many think, and I can't say that I disagree, that they deserve hell.  In one of the articles I read, their father says that "all hell will break loose if his other son is killed" and one of the comments by a reader was "No sir, all hell will not break loose, it will only be a little more crowded"  and I laughed.  I laughed as I thought about these young men going to hell because of what they have done.  That is hatred.  And that is sin.  And it is no longer funny.

It is easy to point fingers and blame when the sin is blatant and a bombing or a shooting.  It is easy to judge that sin.  But what about "everyday" sin.  "Little white lies" (there are no such thing), laziness, bad language, lust, drunkeness, gossip, gluttony, or hatred.  Those sins are easy to hide, to justify, to ignore, or even to convince ourselves that they are ok.  As humans, it is easy to qualify sin.  Put it in a list of ok, bad and worse.  God does not do that.  Sin is sin is sin.  There is no qualification.  He can not abide any of it.  It all separates us from Him.  
1 John 3:15 reads "Anyone who hates a brother or sister is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life residing in him."  Notice this verse does not say he is LIKE a murderer....he is a murderer. And there is no eternal life in him.  Hatred is a sin.  End of story.
Or try 1 John 4:20 "Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen."  - We can not love God and hate another at the same time....that makes us a liar.  Double whammy.  Hatred and lying...sin and sin. That's bad news too.

And if that isn't enough.  Read the sermon on the mount.  Jesus talks about  -Murder (Mathew 5:21-26) and likens it to anger.  OUCH!
-Adultery (Matthew 5:27) and likens it to looking lustfully at another who is not your spouse.  Oops!
-judging others (Matthew 7:1-2)

By these standards I am guilty of murder DAILY as I am angry about something in some way almost every day.  SIN!  I am guilty of adultery any time a new Avengers movie comes out because I just love watching those superheros.  SIN!  And I am guilty of judgement more often than I can count....from the Boston Bombers to the lady yelling at her kids in Walmart or the guy who cuts me off in traffic.  Plus, by the standards of 1 John 4:20, not only am I a murderer (for hatred) but also a liar because I also claim to love God (which the Bible clearly states is not possible).  SIN!  I am occasionally lazy, gluttonous, and I gossip.  SIN, SIN and SIN!  As I make this laundry list though I can be confident that God does not have this list of my daily shortcomings....

He tells us not to worry, to love our enemies, to quietly pray, fast, and give to the needy.  He tells us to turn the other cheek when someone hurts us.  Am I doing all these things?  In a word, NO.  And what does that say?  I. am. a. sinner.  This should not be a surprise, and its not.  I've never considered myself perfect (nor would I want to attempt it....just too much stress since it doesn't come naturally).  But it does kinda sting to feel myself being compared (even in my own mind)to the likes of a person who would willfully and with intent blow up a bunch of people.  Or with the abortionist who murders babies every day.  Or with any other more "publicized" form of sin.  And yet, I am just like them in my sin.  I am a sinner and I am in great need of the saving grace of a Lord and Savior...just like them. 

There is one major difference.  I have accepted the saving grace of the Lord and Savior and I can call Him mine.  Because of that, I do have eternal life within me.  Not because I am not sinner.  Only because I am saved by His grace.  This does not excuse my sin.  With the help of the Holy Spirit residing in me, I become more like Christ each day, in spite of my sinful nature.  I can say that I will never set a bomb off or go on a shooting spree, but I will still fail my Lord each and every day.  A personal relationship with Him and His forgiveness are the only things that saves me.  It is not and never will be my lack of sin.

So I am going to try something.  As I pray for the victims, I am going to pray for the bombers, and the abortionists, and sinners (myself included).  Because although I hate their (my) sin I am told to love them (Matthew 5:43-48).  I don't yet love them.  (It is easier to love myself because I rationalize my sin away)  But in prayer I hope to learn to love them and admit/change my own sin.  I do not think it will be easy but it what Christ called us to do.  Love our enemies.  And my sin is not "better sin" than theirs.  Sin is Sin is Sin and apart from the saving grace of Jesus, which everyone is free to accept, we are all condemned to the same fate.  


  1. Wow. You are right on about this. We are all sinners deserving of death, but Jesus' death and resurrection has made it possible for ANYONE to be reconciled to God. Great post!

  2. Really great post. Very thought provoking and right on.