Friday, May 24, 2013

Minimizing Sin

It's easy to minimize sin, trying to convince ourselves and others (and unfortunately, often successfully, despite whatever cognitive dissonance) that sin is not really that bad.
"It's just once", "I'm not really hurting anybody", "Everybody does this", "Nobody has to know", "It's not a big deal", so on and so forth...
I think as Christians, we know it's not right to minimize sin. I think we know that everything we do and think and say is not just "to ourselves and won't harm anyone", but rather a capital (literally) offense against the most supreme God, who knows all our inner thoughts and motives and has the ultimate right and authority to judge.

As if that's no big deal.

We also know that our own sin will affect others - whether it is to turn someone else away from Christ because of our actions, to directly harm someone else even if we didn't realize it, basically to damage the relationship between us and others or others and God.

As if that's no big deal.

People are fickle though - we often sway too far to one side or to the other. Either sin is no big deal or sin is so debilitatingly great that we can't function. So to the other extreme then - is it possible to maximize/make too great a deal of sin?

I don't know if this is the right answer... But I don't think so. Sin is sin is sin, and no sin is so small that it doesn't grieve God. I think that part of what it means to really grow in Christ is to understand the weight and depth and despicableness and destructiveness and horror of sin, no matter what it looks like.

I think there is no problem with "maximizing" sin, because of Who it is ultimately against. It is maximum. But instead, the problem on this side is that we minimize the power of God. We think our sin is too great for God to bear, we think that His grace is not sufficient, that His sacrifice does not suffice, that His Words do not heal and His power does not overcome.

This can lead to despair and bitterness, and to giving up - which consequently, funny enough (haha, not), can lead to the complete other side of the pendulum. "It's too hard to deal with this", so therefore, sin is not that bad after all. Isn't it funny how cognitive dissonance works?

Oh, how completely hopeless and futile our ways are when we're left to our own devices.. it brings to mind the passage in Romans 1, where God gives up the people to their own ways because though they knew Him, they did not glorify or give thanks to Him.