“And here you are, a brood of sinners, standing in the place of your fathers and making the Lord even more angry with Israel. If you turn away from following him, he will again leave all this people in the wilderness, and you will be the cause of their destruction.”
- Numbers 32:14-15
See, the day of the Lord is coming —a cruel day, with wrath and fierce anger— to make the land desolate and destroy the sinners within it.
- Isaiah 13:9
The sinners in Zion are terrified; trembling grips the godless: “Who of us can dwell with the consuming fire? Who of us can dwell with everlasting burning?”
- Isaiah 33:14
for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
- Romans 3:23
“A bomb exploded in our nation some years ago. In mid-America, of all places. You know … the home of apple pie, hot dogs, and Ford Fairlanes. The fuse was lit first in the mind of Karl Menninger, but its effect was not felt until his pen detonated the blasting cap. Suddenly—without prior warning—BOOM! His book, Whatever Became of Sin , stunned and shocked his colleagues.
“Most of Menninger’s peers had put that hated word to bed decades ago. But now, like another Rip Van Winkle, wrinkled and bearded after a long winter’s nap, sin was shaken from its slumber. …
“All had been relatively quiet on the Western front. America was still licking its wounds from the riots, campus rebellions, and political assassinations of the sixties. We were biting the bullet of a prolonged war in Southeast Asia. We were hearing rumblings with strange names back then—ecological concerns, energy crises, and “do your own thing.” Most of us sensed trouble was brewing … something was wrong. But none dared call it SIN.
“Maybe our president would admit it. Lincoln did, way back in 1863. Eisenhower did, borrowing his words from Lincoln, when the Day of Prayer rolled around exactly ninety years later.
“ ‘It is the duty of nations as well as of men to own their dependence upon the overruling power of God, to confess their sins and transgressions in humble sorrow, yet with assured hope that genuine repentance will lead to mercy and pardon.’
“But Eisenhower’s subsequent calls to prayer never mentioned that explosive term again. In fact, in I972, Frederick Fox of Princeton University stated in a compelling article entitled ‘The National Day of Prayer’;
“ ‘Since I953, no President has mentioned sin as a national failing. Neither Kennedy, Johnson, nor Nixon. To be sure, they have skirted the word. … I cannot imagine a modern President beating his breast on behalf of the Nation and praying, “God, be merciful to us sinners.” ‘
“ ‘As a nation,’ admitted one wag at the time, ‘we officially ceased “sinning” some twenty years ago.’
“Then came Menninger, who was gutsy enough to declare the truth. Was what he said new? No, not new. It had been there all the time. It just needed to be declared.
“Reminds me of the apocryphal story of two parties of Indians in the desert of New Mexico talking to each other by means of smoke signals. Their conversation was moving along quietly as they released puff after puff into the clear desert sky. Suddenly a huge column of smoke appeared and began to climb rapidly some twenty miles into the air. Neither tribe had seen such a sight—nor had the world. It was exactly 5:30 am, July I6, 1945.
“One Indian leaned over to another, shook his head, and commented, ‘Wow! I wish I’d said that!’
“May we all have the courage to say that—to call sin SIN.”
- Charles R. Swindoll, The Finishing Touch (Devotion for Week 30 – Tuesday)
About all that I deleted from the devotion was the trouble from his colleagues Dr. Karl Menninger, Psychiatrist, got into by publishing the book. They wanted the concept of sin expunged from society. Rev. Swindoll published his devotional in the mid-90s. It has gotten much worse than that since then. Psychologists and Psychiatrists do not want people mentioning the word “sin.” To use the word hurts people’s self-esteem and it hurts their general feeling of well-being. I am sure that the mental health professionals have tailored their feelings for political speeches, so that the word is avoided, but if Swindoll’s research showed that the word had not been used since Eisenhower in 1953, by 1996, that would eliminate Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan. As Rev. Swindoll suggested, they may have danced around it without mentioning the word.
But can I be very blunt with a couple of suppositions about why people avoid the word?
If we avoid the concept of sin, then it is something else that makes the mental health patient uneasy. That means that the mental health patient will pay the professional tons of money for therapy sessions to cure a mental health problem, when it may be only guilt due to sin. The pharmacy folks will make tons of money-making pills for the mental health professionals to prescribe. And when they advertise these medicines on television, they often say that they do not know what truly causes this condition, but if it is a chemical imbalance, this medicine will do the trick – or words similar to that.
I do not say that mental health issues do not exist. My wife takes medication for one thing or another. Due to her serious illnesses, she is under a lot of stress. Some of the illnesses affect her ability to sleep, and the medications help. While other people get groggy on the medicine, she does not. Does that mean that she needs it, and the other person does not? I am not a doctor. Keep taking the medicine as prescribed, but not everyone who takes the medicine needs it.
But here is another scenario. You have an uneasy feeling. Someone tells you that God loves you, but there is something separating us from a healthy relationship with God. That is our sin. But Jesus paid the price by dying on the cross. We can have our sins washed away if we accept Jesus into our hearts.
IF, and I say IF, their only problem was the guilt placed there by the Holy Spirit to let us know that something was wrong, then accepting Jesus removes that guilt and those bad feelings. No medication. No therapy sessions. A new person. There will be problems and trouble, but Jesus will be with us to help us.
The first step is to start by admitting that we are sinners and the only saving of that condition is by accepting Jesus. That is not the end, only the end of being lost, and a new beginning of a glorious, victorious life.
Soli Deo Gloria. Only to God be the Glory.