Don't be afraid to say the "S" word

As a kid, I never had my mouth washed out with soap due to foul language. Now this isn't because I never said a bad word, but rather because my parents probably never heard me. In truth, the real reason I was cautious to never utter a profane word in front of my parents is because of some wisely crafted medicine that my mom administered to me early on. During a stirring conversation about the consequences of bad language, she introduced me to the flavor of baking soda delivered in a tea spoon that would be punishment for verbal indiscretions. After tasting that awful powder, I vowed never to allow that stuff to pass my lips again.

There are many words that are taboo in our culture and just simply should not be spoken. Or if we do say them, they are delivered in hushed tones so that no one else can hear. Some words are so foul to the ears that, when uttered, cause us to recoil in disgust and leave the conversation if not the room altogether. We reference these abominable sayings with abbreviations or code words so that our hearers will know what we are talking about without us actually having to say the dreaded word itself (i.e., "Johnny got in trouble at school for saying the "D" word").

Today, many words and phrases that were considered scandalous to utter just a few decades ago are now commonplace in our media and entertainment fronts. There do not seem to be many limits placed on what is now acceptable for the human ear to hear. But there is one word that is still banned in many circles and has been declared irrelevant if not ridiculous by a plethora of social, political, and even religious groups. The word in question is the dreaded "S" word:

Sin

Sin is no longer discussed - it's not even allowed to be mentioned in some settings - because it is considered an archaic concept that our world has rejected because of its lack of relevance to the overall human experience. After all, with relativism reigning supreme in our world, sin only serves to deconstruct many of the ivory palaces that we have built for ourselves. Therefore sin is no longer considered a valid option for everyday vernacular. Sure, you can mention that word in your closed religious meetings, just don't try to force your dogma on the rest of the populace. 

A casual perusing of the news will reveal that there is much in our world that is seemingly out of balance. Just recently, there has been much civil unrest in America over what many believe to be police brutality caused by racial profiling. Just the other day a young woman was doused with lighter fluid and set ablaze inside of her car, left to suffer a horrific death. We can't forget the multitude of school and work place shootings that we have witnessed over the past decade and that occur with shocking regularity. The list of terrible and brutal crimes and tragedies seems to be never ending, as do our explanations for why such events continue to plague our society: Intolerance is the problem, racism is the problem, drugs are the problem, guns are the problem, elitism is the problem, etc.

But those explanations are only the symptoms of what lies deeper beneath the surface of the ills that our world suffers. You see, the root problem of the evil and carnage and suffering that is experienced worldwide is found in that dirty little "S" word, sin. That word that no one wants to acknowledge because certainly we can discover a more acceptable way to define the errors rampant in the human condition. We will work ourselves into oblivion trying to explain society's behavior - everything from blaming politics, poverty, racism, classism, and even culture itself - but in doing so we miss the very reason why all of these issues have come into being. Sin. 
For the wages of sin is death... (Romans 6:23)
Many, while reading this, will choose to cast another label at me to explain away the reality of sin - superstitious Bible thumper. But here is the truth that so many want to ignore: The reason that racism, hate, violence, rape, murder, and injustice exists is not because of a system suddenly gone wrong, but rather because of the inherent sin that resides within man. Sinful men make sinful decisions that affect everyone.

Sin is nothing short of acting contrary to the character and holiness of God. Sin gives birth to the selfishness, hate, and greed that fuels all of our world's problems. We need to look no further than inside the heart of man to diagnose the problems that, when left untreated, grow to epidemic proportions. And if all that we know is the root of the problem without a solution for it, then we can expect that our world will never be anything more than a cesspool for the wicked.

But there is good news out there. Instead of trying to politicize or protest or loot our social ills away - which will never, ever succeed on any level - let us go to the solution that has already been laid out before us, the one found in the second portion of Romans 6:23:
...but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Many won't find that a suitable solution and will continue to pursue change and growth through a flawed human system that has proven itself time and again woefully inadequate to bring hope, peace, and reconciliation. But the truth is, we cannot simply legislate or debate away the reality of sin. It must be tackled head on and the good news is that the war has already been waged - and won - on our behalf by Jesus. His death on the cross conquered sin and there will come a day when sin is vanquished forever. This means that, if you are in Christ, sin no longer has control over you. Though you still feel its ravaging effects, sin no longer owns you. And when Jesus is your center, then sin no longer is the determining factor in your life and decisions. 

Sin is the ultimate problem. Jesus is the only answer. Anything less results in hopeless rhetoric, divisiveness, and endless frustration. It's time to take the censors off of the "S" word. 

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