Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Sin - what we do or who we are?

Today is Ash Wednesday in the Western Calendar. It is the beginning of the season of Lent. During Lent, we are to examine our selves and to practice fasting and self-denial to let God better prepare us for the Joy that is Easter. So, I thought a small series on Sin would be appropriate.

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.


Phil Snyder

Update - What does God want from us?


robroy said...

In contrast to your point of view, we have the new bishop-elect of Northern Michigan (from George Conger article),

"Known also by his Buddhist name, 'Genpo' which means 'Way of Universal Wisdom', Fr Forrester holds progressive views on a number of traditional Christian doctrines. Writing in the diocese’s news letter he stated: 'Sin has little, if anything, to do with being bad. It has everything to do, as far as I can tell, with being blind to our own goodness.'"
Sigh. If there is no sin, we have no need of a savior.

Have a blessed Lent, Brother Phil.

The Rambling Taoist said...

Sin shows itself in the baby's cries when she is not getting enough attention.

To me, this is a most odd statement. A baby crying is simply that. Why make more out of it than what it is?

plsdeacon said...

RT - That the baby cries when not getting what it deems is the proper level of attention (e.g. undivided attention) it is simply showing how self-focused we all are. We are focused on getting our own needs met. I plan on bringing that point out later in the series.

In Jesus' Name,
Phil Snyder