I grew up in churches that talked a lot about sin. I was taught how bad sin was and how my life’s goal should be to keep away from it. I was taught about all types of sin so I could be sure to avoid them. I knew exactly what I couldn’t do, and could easily point out others that were doing things they shouldn’t. I could have a great deal of pride in my holiness, and secretly have shame for my sin. However, I was pretty good at hiding my sin and finding the sin of others.
More recently I have been exposed to a lot of teaching about grace. We don’t talk a lot about sin because grace covers sin. We don’t judge one another and more importantly we don’t spend much time judging ourselves. Sin is an ugly word that brings thoughts of condemnation and guilt.
As I have been sitting here pondering these ideas, I see the errors and the truths in both of them. Grace is very important. We all sin and grace is necessary for us to have a chance to stand before God. Grace does truly cover our sin. However, it doesn’t take away all of the damage done by sin.
God didn’t just create the concept of sin so we had rules to live by. Sin is destructive. Sin damages our relationships with one another, our relationship with God, and is often destructive in our own lives. We judge our sin not to condemn ourselves or others, but to minimize the destructive force of sin in our lives. Sin creates pain and ultimately death.
So, while we embrace grace and live a life of acceptance and forgiveness, we cannot forget the impact of sin in our lives and the lives of others. We can live free from the guilt of sin, but we should also live free of the bondage of sin.