The 3 Failures of How we see Sin

This is a guest post from Tyler Braun (Twitter, Facebook, Blog). He’s a 27 year-old writer, worship leader, and pastor from Portland, Oregon where he lives with his wife Rose. If you don’t know Tyler, you should get to know him. He speaks winsomely and with great conviction for my generation. His blog (and his book) are worth the read for sure.

Tyler’s first book has just released, through Moody Publishers. If you buy a copy before August 10, he’ll throw in all kinds of goodies. Click HERE for details, and to pick your copy up.

AND…I’m giving a copy away here on my blog. Just leave a comment below with your mailing address, RT this post, share it on Facebook (being sure to tag me), and I’ll pick one winner.

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image credit: CreationSwap user uncredited

Sin is a subtle and deceiving creature. Often masked in my life as a new adventure, new opportunity, or new discovery about myself, sin pulls me away from the purposes of God into a world where I become the main character, rather than being a part of the subplot.

I often see sin being reduced to only the biggest of mistakes I’ve made in my life. Is that the totality of sin?

Sin is lying to our parents or children. Sin is committing adultery. Sin is breaking the law. Sin is slandering others.

Sin is all those things, but when we reduce sin to only the worst mistakes of our lives we’re slowly allowing sin to become a bigger part of our lives without ever noticing it. Remember, sin is a subtle and deceiving creature, and it goes far beyond the worst mistakes we’ve made in life.

I saw this happen quickly in my life while watching a few seasons of a television series. What pulled me in was the riveting storyline, but soon enough it was effecting my thoughts and how I lived my life. I noticed lust entering into my mind. I began to have more violent thoughts, and before long it was apparent all of my thoughts revolved around me. All this from just watching a television show.

In making sin out to be merely the worst offenses of our lives we commit 3 grievous failures.

Failure to See the Subtle Sin

Sins such as pride, a calloused heart, and lust can run so far underneath the surface of our lives that we never recognize how powerful they are until it’s too late.

Often we view living the Christian life as more of a sin management strategy than a pursuit of a deep relationship with the Creator. When we do this we become good at making sure we stay away from the “big” sins but often fail at evaluating how our hearts are wandering.

We’re all prone to wander. Failing to see the subtle sin can make the wandering devastating.

Failure to Recognize Sin’s Communal Repercussions

The ministries of many of the minor prophets in the Old Testament were often more focused on how our relationship with God flows naturally in how we relate with those around us. God used the prophetic ministry of Amos to the nation of Israel to explain His coming wrath against them, not for the sins of individuals, but the sins of the whole nation.

The prophets understood the reality of corporate and social sin.We look at sin as an individual, personal issue, often overlooking the overwhelmingly strong, yet difficult to see, connection between humans.

The sins impeding our lives affect more than just the person committing the sin.

All sin affects the whole body of Christ.

Failure to Understand the Sin of Not Doing What We Ought

We spend the large majority of our time focused on the sins of commission (the sins we commit) while failing to understand the sins of omission (not doing what we should).

The sins of omission are powerful because they take time to evaluate.

I try spend time every night evaluating the entire day in order to see where I missed opportunities.

It’s easy to overlook or brush aside not doing something we should. Be careful though, inaction is often the worst sin, because we slowly slide into a comfortable life where we fail to grow into who God desires us to become.

What failures do you see in how we view sin?

What other ways have you seen sin deceive you, or others?

 

 

Leading with integrity

It doesn’t matter where you are, what you’re doing, or how you’re wired…you can lead with integrity.

It’s easy to get frustrated in your work because

  • you’re not working where you want to be working
  • you’re not making the money you want to be making
  • you’re not making the difference you want to be making
  • you are in a dead-end job
  • your boss is tough to work for
  • you’re not maximizing your strengths
  • you work behind a desk
  • you work outside in the elements
  • you have to answer too many emails
  • you’re given too much structure
  • you aren’t given any structure
  • you have too much on your plate
  • you have too little on your plate

And maybe those are all things that you need to work on changing.  Maybe you should change positions.  Or careers.  Or cities.  But one fact remains.

You can always lead with integrity.

Joseph did.

  • Potiphar, the captain of Pharaoh’s guard, left all that he owned in Joseph’s care because he trusted Joseph. (Genesis 39: 3-6)
  • Potiphar’s wife tempted Joseph to sleep with her…Joseph chose to run away.  (Genesis 39:6-12)  That takes some character.
  • Joseph led and influenced while he was in prison (though he was unjustly accused and prosecuted), gaining the favor and trust of the keeper of the prison. (Genesis 39:19-23)
  • When he was finally released from prison, he didn’t choose bitterness, but trusted God and spoke the truth to Pharaoh. Pharaoh said of Joseph: “Can we find a man like this, in whom is the Spirit of God?”  That’s leading with integrity.
  • Joseph fairly sold food to the Egyptians during the famine.  Integret-ous?  Yeppers.

Was Joseph treated fairly?  Did he have a loving boss?  Was he consistently working in an optimum working environment?  Was he always able to maximize his strengths?

Nope. Nope. Nope. Nope.

But he led with integrity.  Always.

And so can you.

Integrity isn’t based on your circumstances.  It’s rooted in your heart.

Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters (Colossians 3:23)

 

Tiger Shanks it in the Woods

I recently wrote a sports editorial piece for a local paper here in middle Tennessee, the I-24 Exchange.  For your convenience, I thought I’d re-post it here on my blog, though you can also find it HERE.  Keep in mind…this was written last Thursday, before the news of Tiger’s indefinite leave from the game of golf.

Tiger Shanks it in the Woods

Tiger Woods

Unless you live in a hole, you’ve heard the news about “the greatest golfer of all time.”  Tiger Woods was taken to the hospital for an accident he had in his SUV just outside of his Ocoee, FL, home, at 2:25 AM on Friday, December 2nd (momma always said that nothing good happens after midnight).

It was suspected that Tiger was driving under the influence that night.  Rumors of marital troubles between he and his wife, Elin, only led to confirmation of years of infidelity on Tiger’s part. Elin, at this point seems to be sticking around…for the kids.  His sponsors are sticking with him (though who knows for how long).

Tiger’s life is spinning out of control.  To say that more accurately, Tiger’s life has already spun out of control.  He’s reaping the fruit of years of poor decisions.

Why are we as a society drawn to stories where people’s lives seem to be spiraling into an absolute dumpster fire?  Maybe it helps us to feel better about our own life. Maybe we see ourselves somewhere in the story.  Maybe it’s because we have a morbid fascination with the failure of others. Maybe we’re just thankful it’s not us.

Tiger messed up.  But so have I.  And so have you.  None of us have lived a life immune from bad decisions and moral failures.  Tiger, on his website, says, “I have not been true to my values and the behavior my family deserves. I am not without faults and I am far short of perfect.”  You may, or may not, have cheated on your spouse, but you’re not perfect either.  I’d venture to guess that, at least one point in your life, you’ve been in need of someone’s forgiveness.  You were guilty, and there was no denying it.

There’s hardly a greater feeling in life than being forgiven.  To be granted a fresh start.  To have your slate wiped clean.   It’s as if a heavy, unbearable burden has been lifted off of you.

Is Tiger’s career over?  Is he going to be counted as “the greatest golfer of all time?”  Or has this exposure marred his fame and fortune forever?  Only time can tell.

But instead of our eyes and hearts that are quick to judge, and quick to thirst for more and more dirt, maybe we would be better off extending grace and forgiveness.  Tiger doesn’t deserve that.  But by very definition grace is not deserved.  It is not earned.  It’s granted by the one who has been wronged.

I vote to give him a second chance.  And I’m thankful that others have done the same for me.