When we go against the will of God—when we sin—we are doing things that destroy ourselves and others. For a person to understand the effects of sin, we must come to terms with the reality of our sinful natures.
It seems that our culture is full of declarations of positive self-image. We tell ourselves that we are good people. We are kind-hearted. We deserve more. We are enough just as we are. And so on.
I understand the temptation to do this, and there could be many causes. Here are a few according to my own limited experience and view of the world:
In part, we have a backlash of positivity after a generation of Christians that shamed people for their sins in a mean-spirited manner (I get that too. It’s easy when our values are targeted by those who hate us. We are called to be better than that though). Many Christians also attempted to push righteousness through law instead of through compassion, understanding, and setting a good example (Jesus teaches us that law is not the way, but a change of heart).
Many Christians did not have faith that Jesus would handle things, so we took vengeance into our own hands. That did not work out so well.
Another reason for the self-affirming culture is shame inducing parenting that was typical of that generation along with high divorce rates and the destruction of healthy homes and traditional family values.
Pair all of this with strong media influences that constantly made people feel inadequate unless they had the best this or that, and you have a generation that was starving for someone to love them.
Since they had no one, they decided to love themselves.
This is understandable, but it is very dangerous.
This is dangerous because we begin to deny our natural sinful state.
Many do not like the word, “sin.” It’s taboo and carries the connotation of religious oppression. That is a sad and very unfortunate thing because when we sin we are doing things that bring death.
In denying sin, we begin to call sinful things good or we compare ourselves to others and think that sin is just a normal part of human nature that should be embraced.
However, if we think someone is sinning against us, then we feel fully justified in hating them.
We are a very blind, self-righteous and hypocritical generation because of this.
The generation before us needs to own up to what they did to cause this mess, and our generation needs to grow up and own up to our mistakes.
If we continue to view ourselves as victims, then we will not get to a place of healing and empowerment. We will not get to a place of self-accountability, and that is something that we so desperately need!
Sins have consequences—deadly consequences—that should not be ignored or considered good or something to be proud of.
When faced with the consequences of sin, it is important that we consider our wrongs and own up to it.
If we don’t, but instead have been blinded by our self-affirming and sin-praising culture, then we are at a great risk. Why?
Because we do not regret our sin and decide to do better for ourselves. Instead, we blame others. We curse others. We curse God. There is little to no hope for us then.
It is important for a person to find some understanding of the destructive nature of sin. It is important for a person to understand their natural tendency towards sin. It is important to know that the punishment for sin is death, and this is right because sin brings death. Death to our minds. Death to our bodies. Death to our relationships. Death to our culture. Death to our nation.
Sin is serious, and sin is killing our generation. We are neck deep in it, all the while praising it. We are dying because of our sin, yet we curse others and God. This is not good. We are inviting Destruction into our world. We are going to die because of our need to hold onto a positive self-image.
Once we begin to understand these things, what should we do next?
The most important thing is to seek Jesus and learn about what He stands for. We can talk to Jesus, even if it feels strange at first. We can begin the scary and saddening task of looking at ourselves honestly. We can try to remedy our behavior to the best of our ability and seek Jesus for the strength to overcome.
We can meet other Christians who are further along in the faith and form relationships. We can ask Jesus to send us the Holy Spirit so that we find better insight into sin and greater power to overcome sin.
The effects of sin ties into the promises we receive through our salvation in Jesus. The next article in this series will focus on sin as it relates to the gospel.