I was talking with a rather clever high schooler I know about church, Jesus, the bible, all that good Christina stuff. She brought up a really common, but never the less interesting issue for Christians. How do we know what’s sin and not?
The question went something like this “how can someone say everyone is equal and woman should be able to do everything a man can, but then say you can’t be gay?”
To her there is some obvious inconsistency. In her mind the way we decided what is and isn’t sin isn’t being properly or equally applied. There appears to be a glaring inconsistency.
But too many there isn’t.
And to me that’s fascinating.
Both of these topics touch on defining what is and is not sin. The argument can be made for both sides, and as such it makes identifying sin in either of these situations hard. It’s the fact that good people working hard to understand the scripture and can come to very different understandings that leads to these debates still existing.
As I tend to do I asked a question that appears to not be particularly helpful. I asked the obvious to me question “does it matter?”
Clearly to a lot of people it does or the conversations wouldn’t come up. But the question and the reflection it dictates are important.
Does it matter if homosexuality a sin? Does it matter if woman in leadership is sin? Most would start with an obvious yes.
I may be wrong but I’ve never seen the exhaustive list of all sin. Is there a website we are listing them all so we know? Like supersinlist.com or something that we are all working towards so we can make sure we agree on them?
If it’s not for our super sin list, it’s got to be about leadership. Because no one who sins is worthy to be in leadership……..
So if it’s not about sin in leadership (because it can’t be or no one ever could lead anything), what is it?
Remember these are not actually all that clear. Most of us see these issues as clear but there is a wide divide in the church so it’s not. People are praying, reading, struggling and coming to entirely different opinions.
So back to why it matters, because I think most of us would agree it does.
Is it about accountability and love? Calling out sin in love for our brothers and sisters who have been led astray? This strikes me as ultimately the most prevalent reason. We can’t allow someone to continue in their sin. We see a better life and need to bring them into that new life.
Maybe but there is very little I would call loving in the way most people talk about sin in other people’s lives. We are really good at calling it out and expecting people to change while we do nothing about the obvious sin in our lives. In fact we often become indigent when someone does it to us.
Jarrod McKenna recently tweet a picture of a slide that I believe he is ascribing to Brad Chilcott. It reads:
“If it sounds like hate, feels like hate and makes people feel hated then it’s certainly not love. “
Do we live a life that looks like the life of Christ or one that we can defend with a verse in the bible? Do we act in love or in something that is certainly not love? Do we live a life modeled after the one who is love or one that we use to try and justify and sanctify beliefs and ideas that may not be as great and loving as we once thought they were?
Remember, those are different and I worry too often we try to live a life that we can defend with scripture rather than one that is modeled after Christ. Sure we sprinkle some Jesus in there but it’s right along with some old testament practices we like, an in or out perspective on a certain sin we find particularly offensive, and a belief that 7 days were 7 literal days.
Somehow all of those beliefs make us Christian or not rather than the obvious, is our life more like Jesus’ example of how to live than it was before?
This isn’t about salvation. That’s a big topic and to be honest I have no idea how it works. I don’t know when you cross the line form saved to not.
This is about being a Christian.
This is about being Christ-like.
This is about being love.
So, does it matter?
It’s hard to say, but I can be sure of this. Unless I’ve been invited to working it out with a person I know and love, I’m going to try and not make any judgments on what is and is not sin in their life.
Too much in my own to sort out.