Sin: More about Social harm than Moral imperfection??
Last night I had a dream. It was basically like a Tuesday at David and Tara’s but with some new faces. We were talking about sin and I made a comment in my dream about how maybe sin is more social then moral. Then I woke up. I started thinking about my dream… sin being more social then moral…
I’ve always thought that God hated sin because it was morally evil – that it was sort of this something other than God. God was perfect, sin was that which “fell short” of God’s perfection. Sin was something God couldn’t in his perfect nature do Himself - or allow or tolerate. Sin was evil and evil was this something outside of or other than God.
But this morning I started thinking maybe God doesn’t hate sin because it is just some moral evil in and of itself and can’t be done or tolerated by a perfect God… Maybe He hates sin because sin is something that hurts people, that damages relationships, that harms community, that injures society. As I started to think about it I couldn’t think of a single sin that didn’t damage relationships and hurt people (if you can I’d be curious to hear it).
The 10 Commandments are a good place to start – each of them could be argued to be about relationship – relationship with God, with family, with neighbor and with society at large. It’s like God is saying these things hurt you, they hurt others, they hurt society and they hurt your relationship with me – so why do I dislike them? I dislike them because they hurt my beloved creation. And that’s why you should dislike them too.
I think in some ways we have disconnected sin from its social consequences, from its relational focus and have instead made sin a very personal, very internal thing. We have made sin about ME falling short of God’s perfection, instead of about me harming and hurting God and others.
Maybe it’s just me, but I found this to be a really interesting train of thought and it made me look at sin in a really different way.
Rejoicing in the journey - Beth Stedman