the disciple/logical/intellectual/legalistic/pharisaical/bible thumper side of me sees black and white. what’s a boy to do?
from yesterday’s endless list of beliefs and behaviors that define our church family, here are some that i have been taught to call “sin” through the years:
- doubting is a sin.
- getting drunk is a sin.
- anger is a sin.
- being a political liberal is a sin.
- killing animals for fun is a sin.
- being gay is a sin.
- getting an abortion is a sin.
- looking at pornography is a sin.
- smoking is a sin.
- listening to music with ungodly lyrics is a sin.
- getting a divorce is a sin.
- being in debt is a sin.
- thoughts of suicide is sin.
- gossip is sin.
- flirting is sin.
- addiction to drugs is sin.
- giving less than 10% of my income to the church is sin.
- overeating is sin.
- sex outside of marriage is sin.
- believing in evolution is sin.
- having a woman pastor is a sin.
- any and all lies are sin.
- to refuse to say the pledge of allegiance is sin.
- to oppose u.s. military decisions is sin.
- to be angry at god is sin.
- to neglect bible reading is sin.
- failure to confess our sins is sin.
- judging others is sin.
- fear of death is sin.
- racism is sin.
- cussing is a sin.
- getting a tattoo is a sin.
- dancing is a sin.
- women speaking in a church service is a sin.
- interracial dating or marriage is sin.
- men wearing hats in a church service is sin.
- being on welfare is sin.
- breaking the speed limit is sin.
- missing church on sundays is a sin.
the list could go on.
some of them i still call “sin”. others i see very differently than i did when i was younger. but the thing that is most different for me is my heart for people whose behavior does not line up with my understanding of god’s laws.
condemnation is gone. patience and understanding has replaced quick judgment. i’ve come to realize that there is usually a story (sometimes a very complicated one) that determines how other people view their own sin and the sin of others.
although there are some times that a firm “stop it. now!” is in order, i guess i’ve just grown more comfortable with the idea that most all of us need people who will help carry the burden, while they wrestle through their theological life journey.
since god is the one who will ultimately forgive, i figure my patience with their sin should be at least as long as god’s. if he can wait for change, then so can i.