Over the past few days I have been preparing for a little talk I am going to give to our young youth group on Tuesday evening. It has challenged me a lot because of what the subject is about. It is about sin. So, I have decided to write about it here, because in today’s society that subject has become a taboo. Hushed, almost forbidden. I will divide it in two, maybe three posts so, it is not long and tedious to read and we can look at different aspects of it.
Nobody likes to talk about sin because it makes people feel uncomfortable. The world tells everyone that life is about how you view yourself. It is about self-steem. The better you feel about yourself the happier you will be. In view of that sin is bad for people’s self-steem. The moto is as long as you feel good about yourself and you don’t harm anyone else, then it is all fine. It is cool. Not to worry.
With that in mind people go on living lives that are centred in themselves.They will do whatever it takes to feel good. They will not even think of the consequences of their actions because after all, the most important thing is that they feel good.
Why is that such a big problem?
Sin is much more than just breaking rules. Sin is a heart disease and it breaks a relationship that God intended to be perfect. God created the world perfect and from the beginning He wanted Adam and Eve to have Him as their King. He wanted them to obey His word. God gave them a very simple instruction:
“The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it. And the Lord God commanded the man, ‘You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die.’” Genesis 2:15-17
So, they could eat from every tree except one. Simple. A bit like giving a child an instruction: “darling, pick your toys up and put them away where they should be.” Simple. The problem was not that they broke the rule, the problem is what happened to their hearts.
“Now the snake was more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, ‘Did God really say, “You must not eat from any tree in the garden”?’ The woman said to the snake, ‘We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, but God did say, “You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.”‘You will not certainly die,’ the snake said to the woman. ‘For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.’When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it. Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realised that they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves.Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the Lord God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the Lord God among the trees of the garden. But the Lord God called to the man, ‘Where are you?’ He answered, ‘I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid.’ Genesis 3:1-10
The problem was that Adam and Eve had a choice. They could choose to listen to God and follow His instructions or they could choose to listen to Satan’s voice. Satan was distorting God’s word. Basically, he lied to them. Satan told them it was all right. They would not die. God knew they would only be like Him knowing good and evil. There it is. Does it sound familiar? Go on, go on. Be like God. It is all about yourself. Even then, God’s word and image was being pushed away as if it was not important at all. As we can see from the text, sadly, Adam and Eve chose in their hearts to listen to Satan and say NO to God. When they did that, they not only broke the rules God had set, but they broke the relationship they had with Him.
Going back to the example of the child. When we give our children that simple instruction: “darling, pick your toys up and put them away where they should be.” and we go back to his/her room after a few hours and the toys are exactly where they were before, the child chose in his/her heart to ignore our instruction and do what he/she wanted. Clearly choosing self first. Now imagine how you feel when that happens. Angry? Sad? Frustrated? Disappointed? Someone you love, your child, is choosing in his/her heart to ignore you. It is like he/she is saying in his/her heart, yeah whatever mummy, I want to play now. I don’t care if you want me to clean my room. That is not called naughtiness, rudeness, being too young, naive, expressive, stressed, repressed or whatever the world wants us to call it. That is called SIN. An act of rebellion.
What happens next, with Adam and Eve, was the consequence of the disobedience, i.e. the act of choosing to push God away and rebel against Him. God punished Adam and Eve and banished them from His presence. Separation from God. The relationship is now broken. Outside the garden life would be hard and man was going to face death.
The disease in man’s heart, the rebellion against God, the desire to be God, entered the world.
On my next post we will see why it is important that we understand that and how it affects us all.