This prompted an interesting discussion with a friend, whom I’ll call Ruth.  For her, the idea that a loving God would label anxiety as “sin” made her uncomfortable.   She doesn’t believe God is that harsh.

I can understand her perspective:  A tendency towards anxiety seems so innocuous.  After all, it could be argued that one person’s anxiety isn’t hurting anyone else (although I’m not sure I would support that particular perspective).  So I can certainly see how using a loaded term like “sin” in reference to anxiety seems not only severe, but maybe inaccurate. 

Ruth may very well be right on target.

But for months now, I’ve been revisiting that conversation in my mind.

I think I get her point:  we don’t like the word “sin.”  We’re understandably hesitant to use it in reference to someone else’s behavior.  And I suppose this is as it should be.  Being judgmental isn’t only frowned on by our culture; it’s also frowned on by God.

But Ruth’s response also made me wonder: do Christians today have an aversion to using the term “sin” as a label for our own actions?  Has our culture’s fear of being judgmental / intolerant / bigoted / dogmatic / narrow-minded somehow created in us an unwillingness to honestly assess our own behaviors and attitudes?  Are we willing to tell the truth—even just to ourselves—about what we do, what we say, what we think?

If it’s true that we’re not always inclined to be honest with ourselves, then what is behind that hesitancy?  

Maybe this deserves further investigation.


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