In its many forms, sin is just misuse
We have been learning about sin and its many manifestations in our weekly men's Bible study. We have learned that sin is far more than just the "junk in the trunk" that we all acquire as we grow older and wiser, though sin includes some of that as well. Sin is pervasive, horrible and to be avoided, and yet sometimes we do not even know it is there. Even so, it destroys what God designed and wants for his creatures.
One kind of sin is joining together things that God intended to keep separate. It's the addition of something to the mix that takes away the value of the mix, the impurity that renders what was pure valueless. Pollution is sin, whether you despoil a bubbling stream of clear pure water with your waste, or a relationship by adding someone who did not belong.
Not only is sin adding things that God never intended to be added, it is separating the things that God had intended to remain together or as one. I worked in a wood yard one summer many years ago. My job was to slice the trees we felled into lengths suitable for firewood. We split the log slices into pieces using wedges. No trunk slice could withstand the pressure of the wedge. It tore apart the unity, the oneness that God had intended. Think about that: Are you a wedge?
Sin is also stripping the bark off a tree, thus laying the tree open to insects and disease. Sin is stripping away the God-given dignity from someone who looks different from you. Sin is dismissing others because their style or way of doing things is unfamiliar or not as modern or clever as our way.
Sin is not that complicated. At times it is just pretending to be someone or something that is better than what we really are. It's overstating our experience on a resume. It's giving an excuse for poor performance or being late that over- or understates the real reason for our failure. Being dishonest about failure is the same whether the failure is large or small. It is sin.
Sin is using something for a purpose that was never intended. I ruined a fine wood chisel when I was too lazy to go get a screwdriver. I knew better and I was careful, to no avail. God has designed creation with a right way and a wrong way to do things. We call using something for another purpose than it was designed "perversion." We tend to think of perversion in terms of sexual deviation, but it is prevalent in other ways in our daily lives. Think of the car horn. Sin is using the horn to correct rather than warn. Sin is perversion.
When we stop and consider what sin is and where it has taken us individually and collectively, the results are awesome. My study group has been disturbed as we have considered all the aspects of sin that have occurred to us as we have done this review.
As a Christian, I believe that God will forgive our sins if we confess our sins to him. He will free us from their hold on us and put our lives back together, restore our dignity and make our relationships what they might better be.
The Rev. Murray Hohns is an associate pastor with New Hope Christian Fellowship.