Whether we like it or not, how we view sin impacts how we interact with the world, others around us living in the world, and even God Himself. But equally so, how we view God affects the way that we view sin, and our reasoning for attempting to stay away from it as much as possible, or indulging in it as we please. Let’s face it, for the most part, sin is fun! For the most part it feels great. And much of the time it is more pleasurable and “easy” to sin, than it is to abstain from it. We are carnal people and there is a carnal desire within us to feed that carnal hunger. The bible tells us that there is not one person, no not one, who is free from sin. It is also very obvious the destruction that sin, especially habitual sin, can bring to the life of an individual, and those around that individual.
I guess the way we view sin goes back to the conversation of our struggle in an attempt to serve a loving, caring, graceful God, and a God that calls us to live a life of holiness and righteous, that is set apart from the world. I often see how Christians go to one side or the other and lead people into lifestyles that are equally undesirable on both sides of the pole. Some Christians scare people into salvation by introducing them to a vengeful God, full of fury and ready to punish His children because of their sin. These people then enter into an impossible life of trying to please a God that calls for perfection in an imperfect world, and often find themselves enslaved in a life of legalism. Other Christians put more emphasis on the loving qualities of God, but do not meet that with His desire for his followers to stay pure. These people often find themselves living carefree lives, with no real boundaries in their lives, and with this relaxed attitude, they potentially move further away from God as time goes on.
I think it is important to have a Godly view of sin, and truly understand the reasoning behind Him creating a set of laws pertaining to it. Many people, especially nonChristians, view Christianity as a rigid way of life, bound by rules and regulations, and no fun what-so-ever. But when I look back to the time when God used Moses to introduce these laws, I do not see a God that wanted to bind His children up with law, but rather a God who saw the destruction that sin caused in their lives, the separation it caused between them and Him, and a loving desire to protect them from that. So these laws were not created to oppress people, but to protect them. However, we often use these very laws to judge, condemn and oppress people. To truly have a Godly view of sin, we first have to ascertain how we view God Himself. I like to compare it to different parenting styles.
A controlling parent who places strict, rigid rules and regulations for their child may feel like they are doing the loving thing by setting these standards of perfection and coming down with an iron fist when the child breaks those rules. It is true in fact children need boundaries. But if those strict boundaries are not met with grace, expressed love and healthy concern, the child will merely see those laws as the parent’s effort to “control” them. Often these children end up rebelling against the parent, or eventually get out in the “real world” where lax rules and regulations exist and struggle to make healthy and mature decisions for themselves. On the other side we see the laissez-faire parent who sets no rules and regulations for their children and allows them to do whatever they want, whenever they want, with the focus of “just trying to be the child’s friend” in mind. This relaxed, nonjudgmental, no boundary approach often also sets the child up for failure in the real world without a basis of basic rules and morals being taught to him. Though these children think their parents are “so cool” when they are young, they often have a deep, inset insecurity with the world and feel unsafe, having no boundaries and moral guidance. They are equally unprepared to go into the real world and, as adults, often end up resenting their parents.
Another form of parenting would be a healthy mixture of laying out expected morals and rules for the child and giving them a loving environment to make mistakes with loving, realistic consequences. It is a healthy combination of the parent expressing to the child, and living out an example, of the morals and lifestyles that they expect, but also knowing that the child will mess up, and being willing to be there to help lovingly pick up the pieces with them, when need be; the mixture of a set and expected standard of morality along with grace. I feel like this is the kind of parent we have in God. He has a set of morals and standards that he expects us to live up to, mostly for our own protection and the protection of those around us. But He is not waiting to come down hard on us for each and every mistake and He doesn’t want us to live a life that is bound up by legalism. He expects a lot out of us, but He is also more aware, more aware than we are, that we are imperfect creatures in an imperfect world, and we will in fact mess up on a daily basis, and He is waiting with open, loving arms when we come to that realization as well.
The problem with how we view God’s response to sin, and how we view sin is it affects how we act towards others, most especially those we perceive to be “living in sin”. If we recognize that we all sin, in one way or another, on a regular and daily basis, and though we should try to live a life of purity we will often fail, we would not get caught up in legalistic lifestyles, holding ourselves and others captive with the law. But equally, if we are aware of the truly destructive ramifications sin can have in the lives of individuals, and those around that individual, we would also not take sin so lightly. I feel that with a Godly view of sin, we are much more empowered to truly “love the sinner and hate the sin”, because our first instinct would not be to judge or condemn a person we see “living in sin”, but it would be to see the pain which that very sin can potentially cause in that individuals life, and act accordingly in love and compassion for that individual. I guess a huge problem is we often have that plank in our eye which warps our view of the tiny little splinter in someone else’s, which I see as even more reason to try and arrive at, and hold on to, a Godly view of sin.