We don’t talk about sin much anymore. In fact, the word seems to have disappeared from the faithful’s vocabulary. But the Christian faith has a tradition dating back to our Jewish forebears of the power, necessity and importance of dealing with sin. It is serious business, and involves a great deal of vulnerability and willingness to wade into the muck and messiness of your sinful actions. It begins with being convicted by the truth that what you have done is an affront to God and other people. It moves on to confession – an articulation of telling the truth about yourself, expressing deep regret and vowing to make things right. It mandates repenting, which literally means turning around and heading in a new direction, with your words, attitudes and actions. It necessitates, as much as possible, making things right with others so that God’s justice becomes real. It includes being forgiven, because God’s grace in Jesus Christ is transformational. Eventually – but not always easily – it can lead to reconciliation.
I’ve been thinking a great deal about sin in recent days. My own to be sure, but also that which has been committed by those who claim Jesus and claim they are acting in his name. I wonder what would happen if the Holy Spirit would send a wave of humility upon our nation so there was far less anger, opportunism, hatred and demonizing, and a great deal more conviction, confession, repentance, making-right and transformation. It probably would be resisted. It would be painful. And it might involve you taking the risk of calling out the sin of others to get their attention. But it is how God transforms human beings from the inside out. And that should be something we always seek – for ourselves and every other person.