Archive for April, 2013

Normalization of sin, as I would describe it, is when sins that were considered in the minds of most, let’s call it the “culture” stop being seen as wrong. Then believers, who may agree that is is a sin, still hardly see it as a major sin anymore. They are so effected by what culture views as right and wrong, that though they still say it is wrong, they no longer really feel too much conviction over it. The gradation of how henious a sin is is determined in large part by whether the culture actually views it as wrong.
For example, our culture use to view sexual sins very seriously. Thus back then, when even the thought of sexual sin crossed someone’s mind, there was a sort of “no no no no, I’m not that kind of person” reaction to it. Today, perhaps, there still remains a little bit of this in regards to a married person lusting after another, but even there it is being normalzed. The point is, that, as in the old days even the crossing thought of premarital relations was avoided becasue “no, i’m not that kind of person” not it’s readily entertained, even if recognized as wrong.
This goes for many other things as well. Lying is no longer viewed as that big a deal. Sure we acknolwedge it as wrong, but because it’s become normalized, when we’re caught in a lie, we dont feel shocked at what kind of person we’ve become.
And thus we become desensitized to sin, at least certain sins. Whereas we will be shocked to find even a trace of racism in ourselves or others, we are shocked and the person is seen as backwards morally. But when a person is caught in a repetitive web of lies, his character is rarely losing in the eyes of most. Even when someone is caught with “smut”, he loses little in regards to his being seen as morally backwards.
Thus it is the culture, and not God, that helps us to decide which sins are so heinous that a person should avoid them at all costs. and thus when workign with youth, or adults who are caught up in culture, only those sins still acknowledged by the culture are seen as having the power to make someone in need of desperate help.
What is the remedy? We need to no longer let culture play down for us the seriousness of sin, especially of those sins that are greatly serious. We see politicians caught in outright lies, and then when they are forced to confess, there is almost no talk of how this politician is not even fit to run a gas station because his word is untrustworthy. We need to come down hard on sins with church discipline, one of GOd’s mean of grace. Our people will not come to us for help with sins, for the most part, that they don’t see as having a negative effect on their lives and community. And they, we, to be honest, are fine with allowing those sins in our lives that don’t have these effects in our minds. But have they do, and it is up to us to call out in each other the sins and their grave danger. To help a person see not only that lying is wrong, but that it places him on the same standing as a worthless man as does a sin of racism. To help them see that the revulsion they should feel at longing after a woman besides their wife should be the same “no no no no no no, I will not be that person” revulsion we would feel if we felt attracted to a a family member.
Of course this goes for many sins that have become normalized, and are now acceptable. I do want to make it clear that I’m not saying all sins are equal, that would be incorrect. THough any sin is enough to cause someone to need Christ to reconcile them, various sins have different effects on our relationship with God, encur greater or lesser discipline, are more damaging, etc. But that standard is determined by God’s eternal standard, and should never be compromised because society has started to “wink” at it or be okay with it. We should not allow the culture to determine which sins require church discipline, or someone stepping out of leadership.
Morality is not subjective. And if we treat it as such we will only allow our churches to suffer the same effects the culture is experiencing. If we continue to rely only on our consciences to tell us when we are wrong, than we can expect these consciences to continue to do what they have done for centuries, reflect the sensiblities of the times, not the truth. But if we are ready to alight our feelings to God’s word, we would find conviction of a very strong nature in places where our culture would mock us for being so concerned. But, in reality, their mocking is small compared to the price to pay if we do not take these great sins with the right weight.