Doesn’t sound very nice does it?
Most people in the world (and perhaps some of our readers) don’t like the word “sin” because of some of the things it brings up in us. Some of us have grown up in environments where when the word “sin” was used it was used to attack you in very dehumanising ways, others have been told they are “sinners” in hurtful ways because of what you do with your body sexually, and others even more have been told they are “sinning” so that the bigger person who is telling us that can have control over us.
I am reminded of a horrifying story of a mother burying her young sons lifeless body as a result of the tragedy of war. She is at a cemetery only barely holding herself together as she doing the unthinkable- and in a day where support for the mother and the family is absolutely critical something else happens. Strangers come into the funeral holding signs that say “God Hates Soldiers” and begin screaming into what is already emotional chaos with the words “God Hates who your son was!!”. And calling him “A sinner!”.
It’s no wonder that people hear the word “sin” sometimes and cringe. And if you have experiences were the word “sin” or “sinner” is thrown around in order to hurt you then you can relate to the convulsion that this word causes within you. Needless to say, the word “sin” has had a checkered career in the history of the world, and has meant a variety of things to many different people. The word has been thrown around in many dehumanising ways that seek to hurt, control, condemn or belittle people.
The word “sin” can symbolise abuse.
The word “sin” can mean “worthless”.
The word “sin” can mean “breaking the rules”
Should we not throw this word away? That since this word has been thrown around in such ways that the very word ought to be discarded all together? It’s a popular answer to say “yes”- for why would we want to keep such a word that’s been loaded with such meaning? However isn’t that point- that’s it’s been loaded with meaning? Remove the connotations that the word “sin” brings up in your mind. Put your experiences linked with this word on hold for a moment.
Perhaps our experiences have loaded more meaning onto this trigger word than ought to be loaded onto it. And perhaps as a result, the original meaning of this word has been lost in the confusion and chaos. Maybe this word doesn’t think what you think it means. Despite the abuses, despite the thrown around use of this word, maybe there is a deeper and comprehensive reality behind this word that actually captures something that’s truly wrong with the world, and also captures the deep need for someone we can hope in, someone who can heal us from whatever is going on around us and in us. The word sin does not have to mean what you think it has meant to you.
Over the next two weeks I want to explore exactly what the Bible defines sin as (Not what religion has defined it as, but what’s the Bible has).
And I actually think you will be surprised.
But I don’t want to leave you there either, once we define it I want to explore where we go from there in terms of being rescued by what’s happening in the world…
Sounds confusing? It’s because you don’t have next week’s blogs yet.
So stay tuned.