Well it has been a long hiatus, but I am back and will try to post regularly again.
You ever notice how believers seem to rank sin?When this happens we tend to vilify those persons who are guilty of the sins that rank as the worst.There is this scene I remember from Pirates of the Caribbean where Jack Sparrow comes face to face with some of his former crew- those who actually betrayed him.Jack says “The deepest circle of hell is reserved for betrayers and mutineers.”This is a telling statement.Jack’s experience with betrayal had led him to a place where he ranked mutiny and betrayal as the worst of crimes.I think in many ways we are similar to this.Our ranking of sins has a lot to do with our experience and what has been perpetrated against us.Can we with any real confidence declare that one sin is worse in God’s eyes than any other? Now some will answer ‘yes’ citing the blaspheming of Holy Spirit- because it is unpardonable.I guess it follows that it must be in some way worse then the others.However I am going to leave this one off the table for now as it can get in the way of a discussion regarding everything else.Much of my reasoning for writing about this today has to do with a good friend of mine who recently came out of the closet as being gay.As is often the case he has felt that he has been vilified by those of faith because he is a homosexual.In fact he was afraid to tell me about it because he thought I would reject him.This particular sin is a hot button for many believers today.Most often it ranks as being amongst the worst sins (for whatever reason) and a result those who are living in this lifestyle are treated like pariahs- almost as if they are evil incarnate.I ask the question: is this sin any worse then any other?I suppose one could answer that it possibly is as there does seem to be some evidence that certain sins are worse than others; however that being said, I am sure that there is not a definitive list in scripture ranking them.Now when I have asked people about why homosexuality is so bad and is one of the worst sins, the response I get most often (BTW I to believe homosexuality to be sinful- though no worse than any other sexual sin) is that the effect of the gay agenda on the traditional definition of marriage and on the nuclear family value has been devastating.Interesting… the meaning of “one of the worst sins” has just subtly changed.It did mean that the sin was really bad- it has now been changed to mean that its effects are really bad.Essentially what has happened is that we have moved from a place of one sin being more damnable then another to a place where one sin has greater consequence than another; and somehow we have equated the two and from there concluded that one sin is worse then another based upon its physical consequences.Anyone else see how dangerous this is?Why would the meaning have to be subtly changed?I believe it is because we don’t have the definitive ranking list to reference, so we have to come up with a standard for ranking based upon consequences.So what about the liar and the pedophile? Is the liar slightly less ‘bad’ than the pedophile?Again consequentially the pedophile could potentially cause exponentially more damage than the liar however from a biblical standpoint both are equally damning sins.I think the apostle Paul might agree:“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Roman 3:23 NASB).The foundational issue is that all have missed the target.Close doesn’t count.As I have said for years “Close is only good in horseshoes, hand grenades and nuclear bombs” and since we are talking about meeting God’s standard none of the previously mentioned implements are even valid for hitting that target.So if close doesn’t count each, than each individual is damned by their sin; additionally God is not measuring by how much each has missed.They have simply missed and His concern remains:‘Did you let Jesus hit the mark for you?’
So from my perspective we have a major issue.We continually assign a scale to sin when there is no ranking beyond the simply hitting or missing of God’s mark.What’s worse is that as result of our subjective ranking system we begin to rank people and wrap their entire identity up in their particular sin and our view of it.Notice I said OUR view.God’s view is that they ALL MISS THE MARK.We then alienate or ex-communicate a person from simple friendship and relationship simply because we believe that their sin is just too wrong or too evil.WWJD?Jesus routinely hung out with the dregs of his culture- the ones that a good Jewish person would avoid:the prostitutes, the sinners, the tax collectors.I find it interesting that the Evangelists in telling these stories about Jesus used these terms for these individuals- almost as if to highlight these were the people ranked as the most sinful.In Jesus culture the people ranked sin and vilified people as well.Those that committed these sins were outcasts at best.Yet Jesus visited and fellowshipped with these pariahs of society.He laid hands on and touched those who were untouchable.He saw their sin as not being the sum total of all that they were; rather He saw them as individuals caught in pain, hurt and addiction and loaded down by sin and yet He looked beyond it and loved them regardless.If there was anyone who should have been completely offended and put off by the sin of the people it was most definitely Jesus.Now I end with the cliché which needs to become less a cliché and more a way of life if we want to see people delivered, healed and restored from sin:Love the person hate sin.What are you going do?