The Trivialization of Sin

by William F. Harrell

We have seen it coming, and for some strange reason there seemed to be very little that could be done about it. Over the past thirty or forty years in particular, our American society has been in the process of redefining sin and trivializing it to the point that it is not supposed to be something which offends a holy God. It is now called a sickness; a disorder instead of what it is: a violation of the holiness of God. Jesus did not come to this world to die for a disorder or a social sickness. He came to sacrifice Himself for the sins of the world.

Somewhere along the line, when a person sins, it came to be seen more as a social failing than a spiritual failing. Instead of needing repentance in order to restore a proper relationship to God, they need a psychiatrist or counselor to help them repair a social failure which offends people. The public now is more afraid of offending someone else then they are of offending God.

Repentance, which turns one back to God seeking mercy, is what this nation needs and indeed must have. Repentance is not simply feeling sorry for something. It goes deeper than that. True repentance is regret mixed with moral compunction and energized by the Holy Spirit for the purpose of restoring one's fellowship with God. Simply feeling sorry that one got caught is not the same as repentance. Indeed, our society now thinks that if one is not caught then nothing was done for which a person should be punished. In other worlds if one gets away with it, there is nothing wrong with what was done.

Nothing could be further from the truth. And, the idea that wrong doing is nothing more than a social transgression leads people to feel that getting by without being caught is the crux of the matter. Without being caught, no one was offended or at least they don't know who offended them so no apology (social repentance) is needed.

But, when one is caught, that's a different matter. What must be done? Well, the defining element in the situation is this: do they feel they need to make an explanation or do they primarily feel that they must go to God in contrition? You see, an explanation is needed when one has trivialized sin and they want to repair the situation with people so that the social ill will cause no further pain. Contrition is when one throws himself upon God, begging for His mercy. When that is settled to God's satisfaction one must come, in true contrition, seeking the forgiveness of those who have been wronged or hurt. Once forgiveness is received, then, and not before, restoration can take place.

God will not allow sin to be trivialized, and anyone trying it will, sooner or later, face His judgment.