In my dealing with Christians, I have encountered a way of Christian thinking that deserves its own category. Oh, we’ve all encountered it and many of us have been taught by ministers or other Christians that this is the way we should be in our spiritual walk with God: I call it “Sin Obsession”. Christians obsessed with pointing out and eradicating sin from their lives as well as everyone else’s.
I also call Christians obsessed with sin,“Bug Hunters” because of the never-ending search with bright lights and magnifying glasses to unveil sin in every corner of our society. Christians who see sin in EVERYTHING see sin in television, movies, music, magazines, school, work and of course the favorite place to find sin…in people: politicians, celebrities, friends, enemies, relatives, and yes…even themselves. We're ALL guilty of this.
As GLBT people, we have encountered finger pointing at us and have seen attempts to make us into loathsome unrepentant sinners undeserving of redemption.
Oh, that doesn’t mean that I don’t believe that there is sin everywhere. There is. But this is the way of the world. We know this already. Satan is the ruler of the Earth. Until we are called home to be with the Lord…this is our condition. It is to be expected.
Grant you I understand the good intention of Christians who live like this. As GLBT Christians ourselves, we need to look inward to see and understand sin in our lives so we can walk a more spiritual walk with God. By looking for sin within us, we become aware of how we are failing God, other people and ourselves and can repent and improve our way of living. And remember, sin is an act done without love against God, someone else or ourself. Even the Ten Commandments were commanded so we would love God and treat our neighbors with respect. But some people magnify sin where suddenly everything from overeating to listening to non-Christian music has become a major sin. Yet being friendly to your next-door neighbor is all but ignored.
But if “Sin Obsession” becomes our focus, it can adversely affect our spiritual lives in an unhealthy way. We all believe that if a sin is uncovered, we need to acknowledge it, repent and ask God for forgiveness with a promise and a request for help. But the gap between this normal and reflective way of Christian living and the obsessed nature of Bug Hunters is very wide.
Bug Hunters have their own philosophy about sin. There is a belief to many that IF we do not pinpoint every sin around us that it will grab us and take us spiraling into the abyss of hell, which is why we see some Fundamentalist Christians go nuts when they think that sin is infiltrating into their world. And I heartily agree that if gone unchecked, sin can overtake us and ruin our lives and others.
As GLBT Christians, we see the Fundamentalist Right panicking that gay marriage will unravel the bedrock of society. (I guess melodramatics can also be a characteristic of Bug Hunters). Many will say that we are not repentant for being GLBT therefore our sins are not forgiven. It seems they have all the answers to what is going on between my Savior and me. Thankfully, God sees what is in my heart.
One problem with Christians who are obsessed with sin, is that our LIFE CENTERS AROUND SIN. Our spiritual life isn’t about Jesus, the goodness of people, loving our neighbor, showing love and compassion…it becomes all about finding and attacking SIN. All other aspects of Christian living take a backseat in the pursuit of fault finding and pointing fingers. And once accusing occurs, all hell breaks loose. By pointing the fingers at everyone, saying “you’re sinning and you’re sinning”, then you actually get people to think that Christianity is all about SIN. It is not. Christianity is about the REDEMPTION of Jesus Christ to save us from sin, there is a difference.
But because we have focused on sin, non-Christians who hear this message also focus on SIN and not about the positive Christian message of love and salvation that is offered by Jesus Christ. People now equate Christianity with avoiding sin. Where comes Christian love? Where comes feeding the hungry? Where comes the good news of Jesus Christ?
But there is also the belief that we have to find every single sin and ask for forgiveness. And many say that if we do not…we will NOT receive forgiveness and thus grace will NOT be granted. It is very much like returning an empty soda can for the 5-cent deposit. So, if we miss ONE sin, we will be catapulted right back to hell.
Another side effect of being obsessed with sin is that, even though the Lord has forgiven us by His death on the cross, we can actually have a difficult time accepting forgiveness for ourselves because of how much power we have given over to sin. We somehow think that our sin is so grave, it can never be forgiven, so we are perpetually in a state of guilt and repentance, continuously feeling sinful, yet never accepting forgiveness. It is difficult for us to accept God’s grace, which is why we also cannot grant forgiveness to others.
Here then lies the root of our nervousness: The possibility of losing the grace of Jesus because of unforgiven sin, thus resulting in possibly losing one’s salvation. So we scramble to find sin to ensure that no mistakes will be made. If we believe this is the case, then we must believe that God is a stern, rigid rule keeper who is quick to wrath and unmerciful if any errors are made. No wonder we're obsessed with sin.
need to understand something about Jesus.He is not petty like this.
He is not a sin accountant, keeping track of which sins have been confessed and which ones haven’t. God looks at the heart of every person…not his or her track record. He hears our cries and knows our hearts. He proved this through Jesus Christ’s death on the cross for ALL of our sins. Our past sins, our future sins and even sins we are NOT aware of are forgiven us when we have faith in Christ. Jesus died on the cross because we are by nature sinful and He did it to purify us so we can be free to fellowship with God. And God is not an unmoving tyrant, but a loving and compassionate God who loved the world so much, He sent His Son as a sacrifice for us, so we could be forgiven of our sin.
The point of asking for forgiveness is NOT so we can do anything we want and selfishly receive grace. Jesus has already granted grace to us by His death on the cross. As a Christian, the point of asking for forgiveness from God is humility and sorrow for our sin and how it has caused pain to others and us. This is important for our spiritual walk with God, but it does not affect our salvation. We are in God’s family for good. We have no fear of losing our salvation because when He said, “It is finished” it is truly finished. And because we believe that our salvation is based on faith and not by anything we do, we know that God will never leave us. By His death on the cross, we are saved through faith in Christ. So our scrambling to try to catch every sin…doesn’t affect our salvation.
So when we do sin? Don’t beat yourself up. Don’t fall into a depression. Don’t vow a thousand vows to never sin again. By dwelling on your sin, you give it power over you and Satan then has successfully trapped you into staying stuck in them. Jesus is victorious and has freed you so you can be a rejoicing Christian, not one who is guilt-ridden with a cloud of failure hanging over your head.
Confess your sins to God and learn from them. Understand the ramifications of your sin and seek to do better next time with the help from the Holy Spirit. And believe that He has forgiven you and rejoice that He has granted you His love and grace through His Son.
Instead of being insecure about our place with God, we can relax and be assured that we have received the PROMISE of Jesus Christ who has forgiven us our sins. By living in the Holy Spirit, we naturally live a life of love for God and the fruits of the Spirit manifest through us.
Yes, we will still have sin in this life and will always need to ask God for forgiveness in sincerity and humbleness, knowing He is faithful to forgive us because He loves us. We rejoice and live a confident, positive, and fearless life for God, not worried or distracted by the sins of the world. He doesn’t desire for us to dwell on our sins, but to live VICTORIOUSLY spreading the good news of His salvation from them.
© 2004 Edrick
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