Some thoughts on the dreaded "s" word; SIN
["Every one says forgiveness is a lovely idea, until they have something to forgive." - C.S. Lewis
I can relate to this quote very well. On this topic of sin, as far as the secular culture is concerned, it is pretty apparent why it is not a popular word or concept to think about. Our autonomous nature rejects the idea that there is a supernatural power outside of ourselves that effects our actions and behavior. The unbeliever wants to believe that they are in control and that as long as they try hard enough, they are able to morally perfect lives. Under this ideal, when they do sin, they do not take ownership of it completely, they internally find an excuse for their misbehavior.
As far as the "S" word in regards to the Church, I have found that is seems that the prevailing or predominant attitude that exists in the God's covenant community in our culture today is that of self-esteem, self-reliance and being positive and energetic. "It won't do anyone any good, to point out or focus on our mistakes." "Instead we need to act like we're perfect, happy people." "We are capable of leading positive, happy lives as long as we put our mind to it."
The problem with this is that we are effected by sin. Our thoughts and our actions are constantly effected by sin. Even though, we are able to fight our sinful nature and we are able to do good and behave ourselves for the most part in the presence of our family and friends in the Church, we are still prone to and inevitably will sin and make mistakes and say or do things that will offend and or harm the people around us.
This of course is reality and it is often a hard fact. It is hard to deal with our own and others sin. It is hard to forgive people and continue loving them even though they might be "imperfect," and it is hard for them to do the same when you sin against them.
So as far as the Church is concerned, it seems that it has been easier to try to ignore or hide our sin instead of confront it and deal with it. I have found that another reality that seems to exist in the Church today is the lack of exhortation coming from each other and the pulpit. Again this has to do with an over all attitude of self-esteem/positiveness. People don't want to be told how they are sinful and what they need to do to walk straighter paths for God. They don't want to be made to feel that they are morally bankrupt and that they need Christ. So instead, they have decided to ignore this essential part of the Gospel.
While I do agree that too much of a focus on sin and exhortation every week can be unedifying; not to focus on it at all is equally unedifying. Exhortation is necessary because as I've pointed out, the body consists of believers and non-believers. There are those who are not being sanctified in the spirit that need to be reminded to check themselves. Exhortation is just as necessary in the Church today as it was in the New Testament church. Learning about sin and being exhorted to turn from it leads to repentance which is what we do when we admit to our own inability to have a right relationship with God and our need to rely on Jesus as our mediator. Without guilt, self examination and asking God for forgiveness then we truly aren't understanding the gospel.
So therefore "Finally, all of you, have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind. 9Do not repay evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary, bless, for to this you were called, that you may obtain a blessing." 1 Peter 3:8-9
"8 And above all things have fervent love for one another, for “love will cover a multitude of sins.”9 Be hospitable to one another without grumbling." 1 Peter 4:8-9
and "16 Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed." James 5:16
In His grace,
"Dave" was a commenter on Tim Challies' blog. Excellent comment!