Wednesday, July 23, 2014

The Balanced View of Sin

by Jill Jackson

For those who grew up in a “Christ-less Christian home,” the first step on the road of the better way takes place when they acquire a balanced view of sin. They may not even realize their view of sin is off-kilter. They may not understand how this baggage of tainted perspective hinders them from setting their baggage down and walking away, but it does.

One may have lived a lifetime watching hypocrisy at its best. As we discussed in the previous article, there is much silent suffering . . . shame, fear, brokenness, and loneliness. Along with those wounds there is anger—for the suffering or abuse they endured, for the home they should have had, for the way others believed their home was a positive spiritual environment, and perhaps for being let down the most by the persons they should have been able to value the most. Many may struggle with a desire for justice. Justice, in and of itself, is not a bad thing. But when born out of anger, the desired outcome may remain out of reach, leaving one still holding that heavy baggage. Blatant transgressors need to be exposed for what they are, but without having a balanced view of sin, one could do so for all the wrong reasons. Consider the following truths with me with regard to sin and a desire for vindication.

First, each of us bear the burden of sin. "For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God" (Romans 3:23). Perhaps some parents have no regard for God and the transgressions they commit against him. Maybe some are just weak and find themselves succumbing to temptation repeatedly. Whatever the reason, those who grew up in a "Christ-less Christian home" must be objective enough to recognize they too, sin and are in need of the blood of Christ. It’s easy to fall into the trap of she is a greater sinner than me mentality, but Jesus taught against this mindset in John 8:1-11. The scribes and Pharisees brought him a woman, whom had been caught in adultery, desiring to stone her. After writing something on the ground, Christ told those seeking justice, “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her” (v.7). Some children may feel so wronged by their parents. They may be perfectly right and just for feeling that way, but they must be balanced enough to see that they too are imperfect and transgress against God.

Second, each of us must forgive to be forgiven (Luke 6:37). Forgiving does not mean forgetting. It’s impossible to erase the memories stored within our minds, but forgiving means letting go of the resentment. It’s the proactive effort of releasing the anger or ill will attached to the hurt committed against you. Withholding forgiveness will cause grudges to grow like a cancer within. It's toxic to one’s well being mentally, physically and spiritually. Failing to forgive parents does nothing to hurt them, but in reality prevents the child from receiving God’s forgiveness. One with a balanced view of sin can see objectively the pain and anger felt for one’s parents is not worth the depriving of her own eternity.

Third, those whose parents sin against them does not give them a license to rebel and live a sinful lifestyle. Some feel entitled to rebel and do what they want because they lived through the school of hard knocks. Experiencing wrong from the hand of others does not entitle one to “enjoy the pleasures of sin” now, at the expense of righteousness, without being accountable for the consequences.

I was once talking to someone who was willfully engaging in sinful activities. I was trying to get him to turn away from these behaviors and come back to God's ways. He began running through his long list of those who had (in his mind) wronged him. He wanted me to see these sins of others (his opinion, not mine) as justification for his behavior. I interrupted him to ask one question. What does what ________ did to you have to do with what you are currently doing? Sin is personal. We are each responsible for our actions (Deuteronomy 24:16). Others sinning against us does not give us a free pass to turn around and sin. One with a balanced view of sin recognizes growing up in a home where God was not acknowledged, where Christianity was abused, where mistreatment abounded does not make one less accountable for her choices.

Fourth, sin always has the same outcome. Can pleasure be found in sin? Certainly. Otherwise what would be tempting about it? But those pleasures come at a cost that's always the same. Sin separates us from God (Isaiah 59:1-2). It draws us away for his truth, from those in his body, from clear spiritual perspective, and most of all, sin puts our souls in jeopardy. "For the wages of sin is death" (Romans 6:23). No one walks away from sin unscathed. Even if it appears that your parents are not suffering for their sins—and perhaps at this very moment they aren't—but eventually, if unrepentant of, they will suffer. The angry individual looks forward to the day, but the one with a balanced view of sin fears the day, because she recognizes eternity is sealed at the time of death! The experience of living in a “Christ-less Christian home” can create an unhealthy concentration on the sins of others (namely parents) to the point that it blinds one to her own transgressions. It can create a hard, unforgiving heart that can prevent one from receiving forgiveness for her own sins. It can cause one to believe she’s entitled to a leeway she’s not. Enduring this homelife can delude one to the outcome of sin!

Work to acquire a balanced view of sin. Strive to set your baggage down and walk the “road of a better way.” Let go of your hurt and anger, knowing God knows the tears and griefs of your heart (Psalm 56:8). Leave your desire for justice and validation in his hands. “Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord” (Romans 12:19).

Recommended Reading

Jackson, Jason. Stronger Than Ever: Heavenly Advice for Earthly Life (True stories of real people who overcame adversity and are stronger because of the power of Christ.). 2008. Stockton, CA: Christian Courier Publications. 

Jackson, Wayne. Why Do Good People Do Bad Things.

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