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Saturday, May 22, 2010

I Hardly Recognize Sin AnyMore

Sin still exists. It moved to a new location and changed its name but it still exists. People still talk of it even though they have given it new parents and improved its looks. People seem happier with the new look of sin. It seems less damning for it no longer requires repentance but improvement for forgiveness. It can be spoken of in decent circles now without having to whisper. It is a nicer, kinder sin which everyone can do something about and which can be forgotten for long periods without any buildup of guilt. It bears almost no resemblance to its former look.

Somehow individual sin has disappeared. If you get fat, its the fault of the fast food restaurant. Smoking is caused by the tobacco companies. Pollution is caused by Big Oil.

Sin at the personal level is corporate. We are warming our planet, killing the rain forests and spending our country into bankruptcy. These sins we share with our neighbors. We don't have to take personal responsibility that requires repentance. We merely need to improve. It means we buy a Prius, send a dollar to the save the rainforest and rail on about the spending while complaining if any government program is cut. These sins are not felt personally. We can be assured that these can be spoken of at our parties without making anyone feel guilty.

Even the sins which should have pointed to our personal decisions are sent elsewhere. It is McDonald's fault that that our children are overweight. We pass laws to prohibit McDonald's from selling Happy Meals to children rather than recognize the responsibility of parents in ordering for their three year olds.

The words printed on each package of cigarets for the past several decades must have meant nothing. Think of all the innocent smokers who were forced to smoke and now are saddled with the diseases which come from this long time exposure.

Just think of how those mortgage companies lured people in to accept the payments on loans they couldn't afford. Surely, we can't hold the individual responsible for borrowing too much.

And think how the government must have forced those mortgage companies to give those loans. They made the money available in the first place, didn't they? Maybe that's why they got the bailout. Congress felt guilty for forcing the banks and mortgage companies to lend out money to people who couldn't really afford the loans. So, when it all came crashing down, Congress tried to rectify the problem by giving the lenders a boatload of money. Hold on! Has Congress ever taken responsibility for causing any of our countries problems in the past? No! I guess I really don't know why we gave them all that money.

We place sin on the back of just about any place than where it belongs. We blame the gun for killing the students. We blame the students who were shot rather than the shooter. We blame our country for causing the 911 attacks. We give absolution to the sinner and condemn others.

As long as we point fingers at others sins, as long as we accept sins as needing improvement rather than repentance, as long as we fail to own our own sins we will be doomed to continue in these sins. We cannot accept improvement when repentance is necessary.

There is no effectiveness is confessing another's sins. Repentance is only effective in the one who needs to stop what they are doing and do something else. Forgiveness is an individual need. Yet, we will never have these by pointing the finger at someone else.

Paul, who wrote nearly half of the books in the New Testament called himself the chief of sinners. He took responsibility for his own sins. Romans tells us how he struggles with doing what is right. His letter to Timothy tells us he considers his own sins the most egregious. Yet, we have the voice of a victor rather than a victim for he knows what his Lord has done for him.

Sin has not moved. It has not really changed. It still belongs to the individual. (There is corporate sin but that is subject for another day.) I am one of those sinners but I confess, repent and depend upon the One who saved me to carry out that salvation by changing me.

Sin is still sin. It doesn't matter how much lipstick you put on it.

1 Timothy 1:12-15 (ESV)
I thank him who has given me strength, Christ Jesus our Lord, because he judged me faithful, appointing me to his service, through formerly I was a blasphemer, persecutor, and insolent opponent. But I received mercy because I had acted ignorantly in unbelief, and the grace of our Lord overflowed for me with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost.

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