Updated: Sep 9
By Dr. Bascom Ratliff
Pastor, Parker/Beagle/Fontana United Methodist Churches
Sin. We shy away from talking about sin. Too often, we are reluctant to confront sin in our churches or in our personal lives. It’s much easier to talk about hope and mercy. And, of course, it is more comforting to think of God as a loving and caring father who is understanding and quick to forgive.
Why is it difficult to talk about sin? Maybe it’s because we have to confront the reality that we have done something wrong, we have broken God’s commandment, or we have hurt someone we love.
We don’t like to admit that we have screwed up or hurt others. We are much more comfortable seeing ourselves as good people who will occasionally make a mistake but are able to get back in the routine of being good people who do good things. I believe this is true for most of us. Christians have good hearts. They want to do what’s right. They want to do God’s will.
However, I believe that it is important to acknowledge our wrongdoing. It is important to make amends, to seek God’s forgiveness, and to work toward preventing future sinning. Unfortunately, I believe that many of us have a comfortable relationship with our sin and resist changing until a catastrophic event forces us to confront the harm our behavior is causing others.
God has given us the ability to think and reason. If we deliberately pay attention to our thoughts and behaviors, we can usually figure out whether we are venturing into an area that will hurt our relationship with God or others. When we find ourselves excusing, minimizing, or justifying our thoughts and behavior, the alarms should go off. These are sure indicators that what we are thinking or doing is leading us to sin.
I believe that it is dangerous to become comfortable with our sinning. For example, if we excuse our viewing of pornography, find ourselves lusting or coveting, or begin excusing our behavior as “not that bad”, “not hurting anyone”, or “everyone does it”, we may find ourselves being in a convenient, destructive relationship with sin.
I believe that God calls us to a life of loving and caring for others. If our behavior or thoughts are not loving, disciplined, or selfless, we are at risk for sinning. If we are inconsiderate or greedy in our relationship with others or the church, we are not walking with Christ.
Our convenience and comfort with sin usually results when we drift away from God’s will and word. We neglect God’s Spirit within us and avoid situations that highlight our wrongdoing and convict us of our sin.
As we continue to drift, the challenge for us is to reconnect or strengthen our connection with God through prayer and devotions. Regular worship with our community of believers is critical. And, as we see the benefit of living a Christian life, our convenient relationship with sin ends. Our devotion to God and commitment to others results in a dynamic and vital relationship with God. When this happens, we began to experience the full force of God’s grace, mercy, and love.
If you want to hear more about God’s wonderful promise of unfailing love and enjoy a great morning of music and worship, come visit us at the Parker, Kansas United Methodist Church during September. We will worship at the Beagle UMC in October and the Fontana UMC in November. All services are at 10 a.m. We’ll be sure to give you a warm welcome, a hot cup of coffee, and the best seats in the house.