I wrote this about a year ago for the church website and thought I’d share it again. Enjoy!
One of the disadvantages of living in a culture that is so radically individualistic is that we tend to see sin in the same way. Sin is relegated to the individual and the individual alone. Just like our own destiny or purpose in life – all relegated to the individual’s personal choices and decisions. Yet, I have found that I am growing increasingly uncomfortable with such sentiments and beliefs. Even the church in America looks at sin through the lens of the individual. Rarely, do we as Christians view another person’s sin as our sin too. Rarely do we look at another person’s failure’s and mess up’s as our failure’s and mess-up’s too. All too often we see ourselves as isolated islands wading through the waves and currents of life. I suppose that this is why so many people hold to the idea that “God helps those who help themselves”. It gets us off the hook in relation to the God-given responsibility that we have towards our neighbor. We no longer need to feel uncomfortable when bad things happen to decent and honest people, we no longer need to feel guilty or sad when we see a mother of three struggling to get by. Because if we can really control our destiny than the fault falls on each and every single individual on their own. But then this is where I get frustrated.
What about the child who is born into poverty in the south Bronx to a mother who is a heroin or crack addict? Doesn’t that put the child at a horrible disadvantage in relation to growing up to become a well adjusted, normal human being? What about the child who is born with a father who is an abusive alcoholic? They can’t control the emotional scars that will be placed upon them at an early age. What about the child who is born into a family that never really wanted him or her in the first place? Believe me, I’ve actually witnessed such a situation. All these “what abouts” reveal that sin is a far more complex thing then we may really realize. All these “what abouts” make what initially seems to be a rather black and white world all the more grey than we ever expected it could possibly be. Now we can’t necessarily look a person in the eyes and think, “you are where you are because of your own choices.” It really does go much deeper than the individual, it in fact goes back to the community. It goes back to us – to the collective whole and not simply to the individual. Really, it ends up becoming a vast web of sin. And we find that like a fly trapped in a spider’s web there’s no way out, no way that we can free ourselves. Like the fly we await our death at the hands of the spider – Satan.
In the end no matter how we cut it, no matter what level it is on, we human beings consistently fail one another both individually and collectively. The effects of sin are astronomical both individually and collectively. This brings great uncertainty and a sense of desperation, like being trapped in a spider’s web awaiting death at the hands of the spider. Pondering such a point gives us an indication of the vastness of sin, of the great power and impact that it has on us not just personally but also communally. “What ifs?” and “Whys?” never cease to abound in a world wrought with sin. Free will may suddenly seem not so free, in fact confining and alienating. And maybe that’s the point.
Really, the effects of sin can never be accurately measured due to its enormity and that’s why we have Jesus, that’s why we need Jesus, that’s why the Father sends Him into the world as one of us to reconcile us and the world to Himself. That’s why the Father sends Jesus to free us from the web of sin, to free us from death at the hands of sin and Satan.
You see, for all of the horror that sin has caused Jesus has come to take it away, he has come to free us from it. He is the only Way out of the web of sin, of a world so tangled in all that is sin. He is the only place where we can find peace because of the heavy burden that is sin, because of the web that is sin. Because of Jesus we can now look and live in a world that no longer seems hopeless but hopeful because have been freed from that which confined us, from that which trapped us. The web of sin no longer confines us but makes us realize the wonderful grace of our Father in heaven. For He comes and He frees us from our sin not on account of anything that we have done for we stand helpless like a fly caught in the web. For when He sees us, He sees no sin for He sees His Son who stands in our place. We enjoy the benefits of Jesus, we enjoy the benefits of a God who loves us. We enjoy the benefits of His favor which brings freedom. The freedom to live according to the grace that was won for us on the Cross.
Therefore where sin and alienation once reigned we see God reigning and making things new, freeing us! Because of Jesus we need not get worked up about the “what ifs?” and the “whys?” because our certainty lies in Him, because God’s love for us has nothing to do with us but all to do with His Son Jesus Christ. Therefore as God’s people we enjoy the benefits of the perfect man – Jesus Christ. We enjoy the benefits of knowing that we are loved and that our God desires our salvation. He desires for us greater things than we could ever imagine. Amen.