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One of the best ways to get an eye-roll out of an unbeliever these days is to mention the word “sin”.

The devil and his hordes have been working overtime to make the concept of sin seem old-fashioned and laughable.

They’ve almost succeeded.

I don’t need to list all the ways they’ve done it. You already know. Popular culture has been the main vehicle, along with the infiltration of mainstream churches not only to pervert the Gospel message, but to corrupt the existing ministers and/or install their own corrupt ministers.

The fall of Christendom through sin didn’t happen overnight; it happened over the course of centuries. The Middle East fell hundreds of years ago, but in Western culture, the fall has been more recent.

How does sin become normalized? Spiritual sickness is presented as a good thing, as something that should be accepted, even admired. It’s presented as courageous, as a core truth that Christianity has cruelly suppressed. Spiritual sickness is rebranded as freedom.

As born-again believers, we know that true freedom can only be found in whole-hearted submission to God. But in the new normal of sin, submission to God is equated to slavery. You can’t be free and a slave at the same time, so obviously you need to free yourself from God. The fastest way to do that is to throw off everything that is condoned by him.

Where once there was marriage, there are now multiple “partners”. Where once there were children born of marriage, there are now children born of single mothers or aborted by them. Where once elders were honored and cared for, the elderly are now warehoused in state institutions to be drugged and chemically slaughtered.

Meanwhile, those who should be institutionalized are not only let roam free, they are given the reins of power.

Sin didn’t go away because we stopped believing in it. It grew and spread and deepened and solidified and gained a stronghold over us until everywhere we looked there was only sin (only we couldn’t even legally call it sin anymore… we had to whisper the word and slink off to the darkest corners of the web to search for those few souls who still knew that sin not only existed but had become Lord over former Christendom…).

The normalization of sin wasn’t imposed on Christendom. It was presented as a temptation. No-one can be forced to sin or to accept sin as normal. It’s a decision of the will.

Sin is always a choice that is made knowing it’s wrong but choosing it anyway, trying to justify it with what appear to be reasoned excuses. These usually come dressed up in terms like “social justice” and “equity” and “modern” and “progressive” and “victim”. Eve had no grounds for blaming the serpent for deceiving her, other than that she permitted herself to be deceived.

She permitted herself to be deceived.

When you accept sin as the norm, you are permitting yourself to be deceived, just as Eve permitted herself to be deceived. And like Eve, you will suffer exile from all that is good and holy while you wallow in that which is rancid and evil until it coats you and penetrates you and is absorbed so deeply into your being that you can no longer tell the difference between you and sin because there is no difference.

When it gets to that point on the societal level, sin has been normalized.

We are at that point.

We can’t come back from this, as a society. There is no coming back from sickness that has progressed this far. Not from this sickness. The only cure is that which was applied to Sodom and Gomorrah, or to Noah’s age.

But, you say, God can heal every sickness, no matter how seemingly hopeless.

Yes, he can, but only when the sick cry out for help.

I hear no such collective cry from former Christendom. Curses I hear, but cries for help are few and far between and growing fewer by the day. Individuals can come back from end-stage spiritual sickness – I am living proof – but not whole cultures, unless, like Nineveh, they all repent in sackcloth and ashes.

Repent is another one of those words that, like sin, brings on the eye-rolls.

The genius of the sin temptation is to rebrand sin as a virtue, so that anyone who tries to help the sinner find his way back to God is labeled as evil.

It’s all upside-down and backwards, former Christendom today, though this should not be surprising to us, considering that the world’s chief aim and accomplishment is the normalization of sin.


 slip in under the radar

One of the easiest ‘sin traps’ to fall into is forgetting that God loves everyone equally, no matter what they do or say.

He doesn’t love what everyone does or says, but he does love whoever is doing the doing or saying.

We need to remember this hard-core fact when we find ourselves repulsed by something someone has said or done. We need to separate the horrible thing from the person doing and saying it. We need to separate the sinner from the sin.

“Love the sinner, hate the sin.”

“Love the sinner, hate the sin.”

“Love the sinner, hate the sin.”

To do this, it helps to see the sinner as you. It helps to remember that you, at times, also say or do horrible things. It helps to remember that you hope not to be condemned even despite your screw-ups. It helps to remember that God shows mercy to you.

Knowing this, we must also acknowledge that:

  • God loves the Muslim suicide bombers who blow up children.
  • God loves whoever was responsible for 9-11.
  • God loves the guards at the Nazi concentration camps who flicked the gas switch on.
  • God loves Judas Iscariot.

This is the God we serve. Our God isn’t someone who hates those who hate him or who hates those who do horrible things. Our God is someone who loves all people equally, even those in hell and those on their way there.

Jesus told us to be perfect even as our heavenly Father is perfect.

God loves us.

All of us.

All of the time.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Years ago, when I was an atheist, I went to an abortion clinic. Because the clinic had received so many bomb threats, the front entrance was permanently barred and people had to enter through the rear gate. An armed security guard stood watch. As I went to enter, a man self-identified as a minister and separated himself from the small group of anti-abortion protestors who held permanent vigil there. He quickly moved towards me and tried to push himself between me and the gate. I pushed him back and the security guard intervened. As he was being hauled away, the minister yelled over and over again that I was a sinner and would go to hell if I had an abortion. I yelled back words that aren’t fit to print here, but you get the idea. There was no love lost on either side. What I remember most about this encounter was that it was with a minister and that his eyes were full of hate. That pretty much summed up my impression of Christians in those days.

Today, being born-again, I understand the loathing that the minister must have felt when he saw me make my way to the abortion clinic gate. I understand his hatred of what he assumed I was about to do, and I also understand how his hatred for abortion could spill over into hatred for me. I get it. It’s easy to do, hating the sinner as well as the sin. It’s a classic sin trap.

That’s why we must always be on our guard against it. Come Judgment Day, it’s probably not the big sins like theft or adultery or even abortion that will condemn us in God’s loving eyes, but the sins that slip under our radar, disguised as holy outrage.

“Love the sinner, hate the sin.”

“Love the sinner, hate the sin.”

“Love the sinner, hate the sin.”