Things could be a lot better than they are. I don’t mean to be pessimistic – there’s a ton of good in the world too. But it is undeniable that suffering abounds.
Homelessness, sickness, broken families, addiction, starvation, sex trafficking – to even mention them in a list or name them seems to belittle or detract from the devastation that is left in their wake.
And yet, much of this suffering is our own fault. Our own bad choices and those of our neighbors.
And to top it off, some religious thinkers say that our bad choices, or “sins”, are ultimately an offense or a dishonoring of God. King David of ancient Israel writes to God, “Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight” – and this was after he murdered a guy, Uriah, so he could bed his wife that he had been peeping on while she bathed!
Was God really the one wronged here? Wasn’t it the dude that was murdered that was wronged? How about murdered dude’s wife who had her husband ripped from her life because David couldn’t control his urges?
But still, many theologians insist that what is ultimately going on here is a violation of a perfect, cosmic law instantiated by an infinitely good God. And in turn, when you violate this law and offend this God – you deserve an infinite punishment.
It has been said that God is perfectly wrathful. Any single sin offends a holy God and warrants a one-way ticket to eternal hellfire.
I can totally understand being angry at sin – when I consider the gratuitous crimes committed against other people of the sort mentioned earlier, I find myself feeling indignant at the injustice of it all.
I suppose this is the idea I’m wrestling with: Is God angry about sin because he is personally offended or dishonored– or does it stem from a place of deep love for those who are both harmed and those doing the harm?
What if God’s primary stance toward sin is one of sorrow?
Sin brings God sadness because it harms those he loves.
And God loves everyone. Even the sinner, the one causing the harm. Does God really find it just and loving to issue an eternal death sentence for sin?
Instead, let’s consider the idea that sin is a poison – it erodes those things that are good and lovely about our world. And God wants to do something about it.
To help. Restore. Reconcile. Make whole.
There’s a lot to unpack here. Join in the conversation.
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