In this week’s Forward Today, Scott reflects on sin, and how Lent offers “a good time to look at our own lives, and see how we might turn toward God.”
Dear friends in Christ,
Not long ago, I saw a conversation on Facebook that was, perhaps unwittingly, deeply theological. People were debating whether someone was a “good person” or a “bad person.” Of course, for Christians, the answer to both categories is Yes.
We are all made in God’s image, put in this world to be and to do good. So in that sense, every person on the planet is a good person. After all, we are made in the very image of God. That means every person is both beautiful and good.
On the other hand, from shortly after the moment of creation, we have squandered the gifts that God has given us. Every single one of us turns away from God, choosing fear and selfishness over hope and love. We all sin. So, in that sense, we are bad people. If I were pressed, I’d say we are all people who do bad things.
This means that we should resist categories that sort people into “good” and “bad”. Jesus told us judgement was not our job, and I think he was serious about that. Our task is not to label or sort others, but to call people to turn toward God. In other words, we reject evil and turn toward good. And we ought to do this graciously, because we’ve all sinned.
The season of Lent gives us the gift of a whole season to focus on turning toward God. Maybe we’ll work a little harder to see God’s image in others. Maybe we’ll be a little more patient when we see sin in others. And perhaps this is a good time to look at our own lives, and see how we might turn toward God.
Some Christians don’t like to talk about sin very much. I find it freeing. For when I think about sins as times when I turned away from God, that makes my work pretty clear. And it helps me be generous with others. Jesus Christ offers true freedom to all, showing us perfect love, offering himself for the salvation of the world, and liberating us from the tyranny of sin. Thanks be to God.
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