By Trace Embry
I had the privilege of talking with a woman from Albania recently. She runs a radio station in a nation that is predominately atheistic and Muslim. I found it interesting to discover that her people have no Albanian translation for the word “grace.” This may be a contributing factor as to why this war-torn area always seems to be war-torn. When a vocabulary is devoid of certain words it often reflects the absence of that emotion, attitude or action; which of course explains the non-existence of the word.
As I’ve been observing the kids who come through Shepherd’s Hill Academy (SHA) in recent years, I’ve noticed that the term “sin” is used and understood less and less-especially as Americans develop a more secular and postmodern worldview.
Though most of us would never admit it, it’s happening in the church also – and at an alarming rate.
Nicely Naughty Sin
In the eyes of the lion’s share of mankind sin has gone from a horrendous act in the eyes of God; which births every calamitous consequence in the world-including tornados, floods, earthquakes, death and disease, to something that is just “nicely naughty” to today’s view – an irrelevant and archaic term that only rightwing religious nut jobs, like me and perhaps you, use to bash anything that doesn’t look like me or perhaps you. At least that’s the way many secular-thinking folks feel – certainly those who have succumbed to political correctness – you know, those people who find it easier to allow the “cool” and “hip” people they believe to be the “intelligentsia” to do their thinking for them.
Though times have changed, God, and what He has ordained as morally right and morally wrong (sin), hasn’t changed. The same kinds of consequences for sins in the past remain the same for sins in the present and sins in the future. You can see it in history and you can see it in real time today. The problem is that man rarely learns from history.
Get to the Root to Bare Good Fruit
Today, we’re just too busy or amused to notice. Parents are usually too busy, while kids are usually too amused. But, the bottom line is that sin is at the root of all our problems. This includes our parenting problems.
The shame is that when a term becomes archaic and irrelevant in the eyes of the citizenry, it makes getting to the bottom of our problems next to impossible. Without addressing the “root” of any problem, only the “fruit” becomes the cause in the eyes of the “intelligentsia.” Then this filters down to the masses.
For example: in the eyes of the masses, our country’s greatest problem, right now, is economic. False! Sin is our problem. Greed is sin; hence, our economic problem.
Then certainly education is the answer. False! At least NOT education in the way the “intelligentsia” describe it. Those Wall Street “greed mongers” were all highly educated. But, that’s what happens when true education is devoid of its compulsory moral component.
Sin is our nation’s problem. It’s my problem and yours. Everything else is a symptom. It’s the problem of every kid here at SHA also. Addressing the fruit without addressing the root is like picking the heads off dandelions. Things return with a vengeance.
A Generation Devoid of Sin?
When SHA kids realize they’ve been used as pawns of the devil, it spawns a concern that is more likely to compel them to do the right thing; because deep inside all of us is that spark of the Divine that knows right and wrong and that there is a God. We are hardwired for Him. The book of Romans makes this clear. New science makes this clear. Observing the world makes this clear. As humans, we are incurable worshippers – even if our god is “self.” As we sin against God, we damage ourselves and everyone around us. Sin never affects just the sinner.
This crazy postmodern notion that “what’s morally right for me might be morally wrong for you” wasn’t thought through very well by those who’ve adopted it. The end is always chaos, insanity, destruction and death – always. You can argue that ethics may vary upon situation; but, morals are absolute. We too often confuse the two.
The kids at SHA come to realize the difference – even if they can only articulate it in their hearts. This is a spiritual thing – the thing that helps us follow the high ground when confronted with moral and ethical situations. But, the “Spirit,” like sin, is something we Americans have come to marginalize as well. If sin really doesn’t exist, we don’t need the Spirit. If sin doesn’t exist, we don’t need a Savior from it. Today, this has become our greatest problem in communicating the gospel (the good news). Many kids, today, don’t know there is bad news (sin)! It’s like asking a robot, devoid of the Spirit, why it doesn’t smile, when it beats you in a game of chess.
Share with us what you have recognized of how society has “down-played” sin.