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”?
4 thoughts on “>Up the Creek…”
>Dawson's creek? Seriously?Well – I definitely think sin can be the cause of the dead bodies, so to speak (which is an interesting analogy, if you think about the wage of sin being death, etc.) I don't mean to deflect and avoid personal responsibility, but when you bring up this analogy, I think more of how our sins cause OTHER people's "dead bodies"…that perhaps the dead bodies are the destruction we cause in other people's lives. The mess we leave in our wake when we sin.
>I dig this one alot. I like the analogy & can relate to your background of preparing to battle sin with resistance & heightened self-control. Frustrating & moot.Then upon exporing the gospels more, I began to view it as hopeless, like reisiting gravity. Jesus words were so strong about the immensity of what qualifies as infractions (if you are trying to view sin as a quantifiable book of rules) that it freaked me out~ Matthew 5:27-30 for example (ouch)~ Then once I tempered the paranoia I realized i'd become near-apathetic about my behavior. Trying to reign in even the THOUGHTS of sin seemed like a weird unconquerable challenge, like trying to slam dunk in a basketball hoop 40 stories high.Then, as my walk matured again I began to notice that Jesus still sees levels of measurement within our behavior despite the fact that the wages of all sin are equal (as Tana pointed out). For some reason, there is still judgment beyond "cleansing thru Christ" or "Death by sin". This is hard for me to understand.Matthew 12:33-37 demonstrates that Jesus stresses how very specific judgment will be upon even every careless word spoken. Why be so specific if the "big picture" is already determined (saved or unsaved vs. forgiven or unforgiven).My guess is that it's much like an adopted child. The child is considered equal part of the family, loved like all other siblings. It is mutually permanent. But just like all other siblings, they're accountable to how they function in the family unit. They still answer to the parents. They still must be caring, respectful & loving to their siblings. They're responsible for their own actions. Accountable for their behavior. They can't be dis-loved or disowned, but they are still prone to discipline, judgment, reward & interconnectivity within the fam. Maybe I see this as how God sees me. Loved & adopted for no good reason. I did not earn it, nor can I shake his love by any behavior. But I am still responsible to him & his other children. I can still be closer or farther from him. I cans till earn favor or discipline. I am still loved as an individual (which means differently than all the other children….sometimes to my frustration). In the end, I find that I will never truly understand sin. I likely am trying to so I can manipulate this understanding to my own benefit anyhow. So, I remain curious but not infatuated with the answer. I know that when I see it as rules/ laws, I react with paranoia or attempts to control the outcome. When I view it as inevitable consequence, I get lazy and glorify my own apathy as "faith". My head spins sometimes, but Romans 7:15-25 makes me feel normalized at least (If Paul can sound schizophrenic why not me too?). I still chuckle and feel a little relief when I read it.
>BTW; I agree with Tana. The REAL sin here is that you referenced Dawsons Creek. For shame.
>Although this is not a direct answer to your question, it is something I have been pondering over the years.A while ago, I either read or heard someone say something along the lines of, "Why do people have their quiet times/prayer times/devotionals at night before going to sleep? I don't know about you, but I sin during the day, not at night." I have always had a problem with that comment. I am the type of person who has always had very vivid dreams. In some of these dreams, there is no doubt that I am sinning. For example, sometimes I may be dating someone (although I am married), or I am married to someone not my husband. When I wake up, I feel terrible; like I cheated although it was just a "story" in my head. I almost have the same shame as if I was doing that in real life. According to the prior quote, I shouldn't worry about how I feel. However, according to my feelings and what you are saying, I AM sinning in my dreams. Thrown into the mix is the thought of, "It is just something in my dreams. I don't have control over what happens in my head during my dreams like I have control over my body and thoughts while I'm awake." That line of logic (that I'm not in control when I dream) may be the hole through which this sin worm wiggles through.Loose quote, "What I do I don't want to do. What I don't want to do, I do. Oh wretched (hu)man that I am, who will save me from this body of death."I guess the natural sin we were born into is the mind that doesn't think in a heavenly way in all things. What sets apart those who desire to follow God is the recognition of this natural sin and the determination to train our minds and actions to more closely mirror that of Christ.