From the stern and oppressive theology that made everyone afraid of God, to hippie-inspired self-love homilies that made sin irrelevant, the topic of sin has swung the pendulum back and forth over the past few generations leaving some to wonder, “What is sin?”
Really. I’ve had people ask me questions along these lines on multiple occasions. When we go from talking about it too much to never talking about it at all, people get confused.
It’s no wonder, then, that good and faithful people are looking to strike a balance between God’s law and God’s mercy, emphasizing forgiveness while also trying to do everything they can not to need it. Sin is a serious problem, and some priests are rightfully preaching in a way to recapture an appropriate aversion to it in our lives. God may be forgiving, but that should not make us any more apt to sin.
I saw one such attempt recently on Twitter, and I thought that it’s intentions were right. At its core was a desire to please God, to inspire people to take their lives seriously, and realize that sin is nothing to mess with. Everything we do should reflect the fact that God is our greatest desire. That tweet? “A friendly reminder that whenever we give into sin we are saying ‘I want this more than God.”
So, yeah. As you can imagine, whenever someone compliments something for having the right intentions… you know that there’s a going to be a “but” to follow. This is no exception. I find this to be a really helpful reminder for certain people in certain situations (namely, those who do not take their lives seriously) but… I also think that it can be problematic, even harmful to others in a different situation (namely, those who are trying their hardest to please God but still struggling to overcome temptation.) Sin is always a turn from the will of God, but it does not necessarily say that we want our sin more than God. Sometimes, we need to remember that our will has been weakened, that our freedom is not perfectly intact, and that, even with our eyes fixed on God, we can make mistakes.
In this video, I do not completely disagree with this fellow evangelist’s words, but I wish to offer some nuance to them. I fear that, taken as it is, in only so many words, this very true and well-intentioned tweet might do harm to people already burdened by sin. To them, I want to offer a simple message: even if you sin, God still loves you. Never forget this.