First, what is sin? In the West, we tend to focus on sins as things we do. I remember a t-shirt I saw in College:
- When we drink we get drunk
- When we get drunk we fall asleep
- When we fall asleep we commit no sin
- When we commit no sin, we go to Heaven
- So, let's all get drunk and go to Heaven!
Aside from the gluttony involved in getting drunk, the basic idea "when we sleep, we commit no sin" shows how "action" focused we are when it comes to sin. Further, we tend to think of "sin" as those actions that are socially unacceptable. Both of these are, like all good lies, partially true, but not the whole truth.
We tend to think thought like "Well, I didn't worship at the Temple of Zeus today, so I guess I'm not guilty of idolatry." or "Well, I didn't have sex with someone who is not my wife (or husband) today, so I guess I'm not guilty of adultery." The fact that we decided it was more important to sleep in than to say our morning prayers (thus worshipping our selves and our needs rather than God) or the fact we ignored our spouse and spent time in "harmless flirtation" with the attractive neightbor seems immaterial to us. We narrowly define specific sins and then, since we didn't to that, we didn't sin.
The truth is much worse than that. The fact that we spend any time at all justifying our selves or trying to minimize our sins shows how far we are from God's righteousness.
Sin isn't just what we do. Sin is a part of who we are. Sin is part of our DNA if you will. Sin shows itself in the baby's cries when she is not getting enough attention. It shows itself in the young boy who picks on others to make himself feel more important.
Over the next few days, I intend to spend some time looking at sin, not just in what we do but in who we are. Perhaps when we better understand the pervasive nature of sin in our lives we will be more ready to repent of this and ask our Lord to come and make us new.