Archives For sin

He needed a refill of his Lomotil, the message said. Had he seen the gastroenterologist like I advised? No, but if I could just send some pills to the pharmacy, he’d appreciate it. I wanted my patient to feel better, but I knew that diarrhea can be a symptom of something much worse. Like the older gentleman who came in for loose stools and ended up with a twelve centimeter mass in his colon. My patient wanted a quick fix and–when it comes to sin–so do we. We want the discomfort go away without having to face an underlying diagnosis. But sin–like colon cancer–is easier to treat when we diagnose it accurately, and early.

Jesus came so that we could enjoy life to the full (John 10:10), but sin drains the abundance out of our lives. If we want abundant life with God–and aren’t experiencing it–we might want to check if we’ve been complaint with God’s treatment plan for sin:

Photo by Bryan Minear on Unsplash

1. Own the diagnosis

Something in humans dreads a diagnosis; we’d rather take a pill to make the diarrhea stop. If a hard day at work leaves us short fused and we snap at a family member, we might try to brush off the unease that creeps into our nervous system by grabbing an excuse about how much work drained us, offering a vague apology for being sorry if we hurt them, or distracting ourselves from the fact that we blew it by turning on Hulu.

But glossing over our failure is as effective as taking Lomotil for colon cancer. It might relieve our psychosocial angst, but the underlying tumor will just keep growing Continue Reading…

Growing up in church, I wanted the truth of God to burn in my chest, but too often it sat shelved in my brain, collecting dust. In youth group, I learned about this disease. I had a breakdown between my head and my heart. Other people had it, too. In fact, everyone seemed to be talking about it, but while they diagnosed the problem in sermons, Bible studies, and at my Christian college, no one seemed to have a cure. 


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You can’t cure a nagging cough without treating the underlying pneumonia, but that’s what many Christians were trying to do. The gulf between our brains and our hearts wasn’t the problem, it was only a symptom of an underlying disease, an infection that started with Modernity. 


The real infection was the belief that truth is ultimately a package of facts Continue Reading…

“God’s never done anything for me,” my friend said, “so why should I do anything for him?” 


Her question hung in the darkness between us—her final reason for rejecting Jesus.


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I wonder how many other people have asked that question this week. The relatives of the five people who died, three weeks ago, in a fiery crash near my office? The friends of the massacre victims at Umpqua Community College? The millions of Syrian refugees, fleeing for their lives?


Our world is in bad shape. We designate times of the year to fight certain evils, but we’re running out of months. Breast cancer has to share October with domestic violence. The brokenness never ends. It can leave us asking whether God is worth following and why, for heaven’s sake, he isn’t fixing things Continue Reading…

For some reason, when people talk about God, they often start with sin. But, that’s not where anyone’s story begins—not that weekend you got wasted, or when your coworker had an affair, or even when Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit. 

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Our story began in a garden with two humans and a God who set them loose in a brand new world. God commissioned Adam and Eve to represent him in the world—not as curators of as museum, but as mini-rulers and sub-creators. God wanted humans to develop and unfold his world in a way that would further infuse it with his creativity and care. The garden of Eden was just the starting point. From there, humanity would extend God’s order and beauty into the world Continue Reading…

I tear the envelope open and unfold the jury summons. Grumble. The secretary double books my 11:00 appointment. Complain. I feel lonely on a Friday night. Grumble. Complain. Grumble.


Hi, my name is Shannon, and I’m a complainer. 


Nearly ten years ago, I signed myself into rehab with the Holy Spirit. Since then, I’ve made good progress, but still have frequent relapses. No, let me call it straight. I still sin. I rob God of worship when I complain and refuse to acknowledge his goodness. 


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I find it strange that hardly anyone comments on my complaining, let alone reminds me that it’s a sin. Well, except my mom, and only rarely. Usually, my friends and family (mom included) listen and empathize.

Maybe they’ve forgotten that complaining is a sin. Or, maybe they’ve chosen to extend grace and believe that God works in broken people, too Continue Reading…