Everyday Encounter with God

Pastor Sylvia's Encounters with God in the Midst of Everyday Life


Modern Sins We Don’t Admit

In Paul’s letters to the churches, he made it clear that sin is sin. He puts “little” ones right next to “big” ones, telling believers that in God’s court they are all the same. Selfish ambition and witchcraft are equal. Lying is on every list. Orgies and jealousy and envy and immorality are no different in God’s eyes. He hates them all.

Most of us who sit in church week after week have grown out of drunken and disorderly conduct. We’re unlikely to murder or steal. No debauchery either. When we read Paul’s lists it may seem like our own sins are paltry by comparison.

But in the 21st-century there is emerging a new list that is equally repugnant to God. How would you fare if these were added to the Ten Commandments?

Objectification. We clump people into categories, label them, and if their values are different than our own, we condescendingly reject everything about them. Maybe it’s their politics, ideologies, ethnicity, culture, or education. When we label others we put them in boxes that prevent us from knowing them and loving them. Objectification is the antithesis of what Jesus taught, and it is a sin.

Narcissism. “Selfies” are an excellent example. We document our lives in pictures we take of ourselves falsely believing that the whole world revolves around us. Facebook must be continually updated because (of course) the world wants to know what we did today, and where, and with whom, and what we ate. Our personal value is measured by the size of our contact lists and how many “friends” hit the “like” button as they scroll by.  

Entitlement. We compare ourselves to others and mistakenly believe we deserve better: a free college education, a high-paying job, designer handbags, smarter phones, and government subsidies so we don’t have to earn our way in life. I deserve more even if it means you will have less. In Jesus’ time it was called greed.

Pride. We do our best to assure that we appear better than others so people won’t know we actually feel lesser. Pride is self-deceptive. When it’s the foundation for self-esteem, we lose sight of our identity as children of God. Pride separates us from ourselves, other people, and the living gospel of Jesus Christ. Sadly, this sin never seems to go away.

Sloth. How easily we unplug from life: video adventure games, a marathon of “Law and Order,” hours of computer solitaire, and reality TV (where we feel better about ourselves because at least we aren’t them.) Whenever we choose activities that dumb us down, pull us away from our relationships, or emotionally numb us, the result is always the same—a disconnect from the activities and people that are God’s perfect will for us.

Instant gratification. We scroll through EBay, Facebook, and Pinterest, always looking for more, easier, faster, or cuter. We must instantly own it, do it, make it, or check our auction bid as time becomes shorter and shorter. Snapchat, fast food-- no patience, no prayerful consideration. I want it and I want it NOW.

There is a 21st-century imprint of sin on our lives. The good news? Our remedy is documented from Genesis to Revelation: admission, repentance, and humility.

At the root of sin is personal dishonesty that requires we admit the truth. God will not forgive what we stubbornly deny. Sincere repentance ignites our restoration. Change is the on-going work of the Holy Spirit in the life of a believer.

And the end result is refreshed humility, without which we cannot sustain our relationship with God or with each other.