Why think about sin?
by Patrick Oden 11/28/2006 / Christian Living
What is the point of thinking about sin at all? That's a question I've been asking myself ever since I thought it an interesting and provocative subject to ponder.
One reason is that sin in itself, as a human condition, hasn't been thought of as much. It is a word, and a word that assumes everyone understands it. Also, there's the reality that sin is discussed a lot only not in terms of itself or what it is, but rather in terms of how all those people are out there ruining our nation committing sins. Those people being whoever happens to do things we don't think are appropriate.
Sin then becomes a dicey topic because in our era it almost is entirely assumed to be an accusatory topic. Christianity, in its Evangelical form, has become a religion very much obsessed with the other person. We worry what people are doing, how they are thinking. We get obsessed over convincing them they are wrong and we are right. We worry about their activities and in doing that forget the chief subject of sin.
Well, not just me but you too. Only for you it's you and for me it's me. What is missing, I think, and why I feel a consideration of sin is worthwhile is not so I can come up with more complicated and spiritual sounding ways of making someone else feel bad. My faith is not about you. Christianity is a religion of salvation and it is a religion of progression. We are not called to say, “Oh, I'm a sinner alright, good thing I'm saved!” No, we're called to say, “I'm a sinner and I'm now able to move onwards and upwards.”
Christianity is a religion of becoming. It is a faith which calls one out of the muck and mire, washes a person off, then sends them up to the city on the hill. We are not saved so we can be content in our wandering ways. By no means! We are given a chance, a chance to embrace through the power of the Spirit that which would be impossible otherwise. We are called to venture towards God. We are called to press onwards, to run the race so as to win, to seek the prize for which we have been called heavenwards in Christ.
Run, fight, seek. These aren't words meant for that other person. These are calls to us to enter into a new pattern of life so that we can discover a higher life, the life that God intended, a life of fullness, and peace, and love, and joy. In overcoming ourselves we become our true selves.
Focusing on the misdeeds of someone else becomes a hearty distraction. We accuse but because we are not much farther we cannot teach and we cannot live in a way that speaks through our actions. We become a religion of words and speeches rather than a religion of action and presence.
So to speak of sin, for me, is to discover the nuances which restrain my own reality. I want to discover the tangled web within so as to somehow sort through it all and begin to really run.
This seems a little selfish I guess. But imagine if I learned these things. And in living in a fuller way I was better able to instinctively resonate the work of the Holy Spirit in this world, and those within my field of resonance began to resonate, and they became and they discovered their own fullness, resonating even more broadly and deeply.
In untangling the knots and digging away at the surface of my own weaknesses I can discover the roots of my own discontent and frustration, finding true faith, consistent thanksgiving, and instinctively dance with the music of all Creation, instinctively paint with the brush of the Creator, instinctively wander down the roads which lead to heaven, even before my time of final judgment comes.
To do this, however, I need to know the fight, see the struggle, and listen to those who have fought the good fight before.
I certainly don't need to look for people to accuse or judge.
I have myself after all. And that's enough as it is.
Patrick Oden lives and works in the mountains of Southern California. Education web design pays the bills. Writing and enjoying the beauty of God's Creation fills his soul.