To begin, let’s define sin as mentioned in the Bible.
A check with an online dictionary brings up the following:
Since the Bible teaches there is nothing apart from God, and the Ten Commandments came from God, that would mean these laws are intrinsic (essential in nature) to God. In other words, they are God’s nature; His personality; who He is.
Therefore, sin is anything contrary or opposing to God Himself.
Meaning, sin is a disconnection and separation from the Lord.
Now that sin is defined, we must examine ourselves. The Bible specifically states ALL have sinned. (Romans 3:23) That includes me, and you, and him, and her, and them, those people over there, and … every single human in the world. There is no exclusion: none.
If each of us examines our thoughts, our actions, our motives, we easily find reasons to hide from God. Why? Because we’re guilty. Everyone experiences a disconnection from God.
The thing is, you are I are very good at concealing our sin. Sin is deceptive. We’ve learned what to say or what not to say to achieve a measure of acknowledgement from other folks. As Christians, we fail to consider the Lord when we hide our motives. We ignore God in our rush to crave acceptance, to be recognized. Thus we’re guilty of disconnecting from God.
There’s a price to pay for being silent to the screams of guilt. If we’re truthful, we fear allowing anyone a peek at our most private fantasies, our most hideous failures, or to observe our most vulnerable moments. We have an inner room in our lives, a top-secret closet with all our sordid stuff. It’s dirty, it’s filthy, yet we keep it hidden and refuse to acknowledge it. We even fail to share with God.
There’s a reason we keep these thoughts secret, we fear judgment.
Sadly, to judge other people is a common human sport.
We panic that others will point fingers. We feel abandoned because of our choices and our thinking. Abandonment and isolation becomes sheer terror. We internally skulk and hide to keep secret our inner self. It’s too unacceptable and hideous to be revealed.
In Romans, Paul gets right to the center of this problem. Everyone shares this disconnect from God. Every one of us are failures, are fearful, are filled with regret, and are helpless. We just don’t want to admit it. We are sinners disconnected from God. As humans, we deny it. As Christians, we ignore it.
Maybe we might point to someone else when their sinful ‘self’ is exposed. However, we never disclose our own guilt. To do so would admit we are spiritually naked and scared. Our religiousness is other-directed and we never allow ourselves to be reflected in the mirror of another’s distress.
We become an audience as if in the darkness of a theater. We watch someone else’s agony on the distant stage, and the remoteness makes us feel protected. We may empathize with the other person, but that’s not the same as being front-and-center. It’s much safer to be a detached observer. Safer—and yet unsatisfying.
There’s a tendency in humans to catalogue moral failures. We often think of lying, cheating, lusting, murder, stealing, adultery, etc. Sins (plural) is much easier to handle because they are defined by an activity. But sin (singular) is much more encompassing, and we almost always see it in others, never ourselves. We’re told from scripture we have a sinful nature, but we never (if ever) see that deceptive beast.
Maybe in our Christian lives we should shift our attitude toward thinking of ourselves as being disconnected from God. If we don’t admit the separation from God, we won’t correct it. If we fail to correct it, we continue to hide our disconnection. The problem feeds on itself. When we disconnect from the Lord, sin runs rampant; sin (singular).
When we disconnect, our human activity becomes filled with concealment. We don’t want others to know of our disconnect status, and attempt to cover it up. Doing that is not very much about choices, but rather, hiding the fact we’re not in communication with God. The result? We’re left empty, we become stressed, and our motives turn secretive. Internally, we lack contentment. Our peace flies away. Within, we’re in turmoil.
To remedy this, a change of attitude it required. It becomes necessary for us to work on why we act as we do, and why we believe as we do, and what to do about it.
“Wait,” you say. “That’s too much.”
Maybe, but the alternative is to stay the same and is much worse in the end. To stay in fellowship with God is absolutely essential for a life without strain, stress, fear, or disconnect from the Lord.