What is our definition of sin? Where did it come from? Why are we unable to avoid it? Can we even overcome it?
When we think of sin it is usually in the context of action [profanity/lying/adultery] but what if it is more than just that? Maybe the phrase “more” is not completely accurate…but what if sin is something that actually precedes the action?
Growing up I found the concept of sin that was taught to me to be oppressive! A constant fear looming over my shoulder – something that waited crouched at my door! But I was also taught that it was manageable…I am not sure how I came to the conclusions that I did but I started to believe that sin was conquerable – but until then it had me in its grasp…but with a few slick techniques I could be free! I read books on overcoming sin, avoiding sin –> defeating bad behavior and actions ~ I read them over and over but with no success.
It dawned on me, “What if the ‘action’ wasn’t the sin rather it was a result of the sin?” – a symptom of sin but not the disease itself. We’ve spent so much time focusing on the actions – “Dead Bodies” and have completely ignored the process that leads up to it!
Let me explain the “Dead Bodies” statement: Many of us have heard the analogy of Upstream Thinking – It goes something like this [warning: bad paraphrase coming]:
Two people come to the edge of a stream and are immediately confronted with dead bodies floating by. They begin to remove the bodies from the stream – but the bodies keep coming – the rate doesn’t change and the work doesn’t end…finally one of the two people says, “You stay here and continue pulling the bodies from the river, I’m going upstream to find out how the dead bodies are getting here!”
This story is usually used when discussing the value of prevention versus treatment…but could we use this analogy for sin? We are identifying that there are “dead bodies” [read::our actions] in the stream(s) of our life and we call that ‘sin’ that must be removed – but what if sin goes further upstream…sin is the cause of the “dead bodies” in the stream.
What caused the “dead bodies” to be in the stream in the first place – can we call this sin? What would we find is “up the creek”?