Monday, April 7, 2008

Why Do People Sin?

Why do people fail so miserably, both famous and not so famous? Certainly the rich, famous and powerful appear to have a lot more to lose, relatively speaking. But ordinary people like you and me have a lot to lose as well – it just isn’t as public or on such a grandiose scale. People like you and me have many of those same things to lose:
•Our spouse, our family.
•Our job, our reputation.
•Our emotional and physical health.
•Maybe even a fine or jail time if we have broken a law.

Even more importantly, we distance our selves from God, the source of all good things, when we sin. As we become more distant from God, we continue this downward spiral until we hit rock bottom – and then hopefully we’ll repent. So why do people risk so much by doing something immoral, unethical, or illegal?

Pride Is a Factor

Pride, I believe, is the major motivating factor behind just about every sin. Pride was the motivating factor behind the sins of Adam and Eve, as well as the Tower of Babel. Pride can take many forms:

• One aspect of pride is a false sense of entitlement, which is a major motivator. I deserve it. They owe me. I work hard. I have needs. We rationalize so well! Our whole advertising industry is based on our sense of entitlement. It seems that today everybody has some sense of entitlement, which can become a dangerous rationalization for all kinds of sin.

• Greed, lust, and envy are other motivating factors based on pride. I want what she has. I want to be rich. I want all the good things in life. Regarding lust, in our sex-saturated society it is difficult to control lust, but if you don’t control it, it will control you. Whenever you are tempted, remember that the motivation to succumb to it is based on a false sense of pride,

Aspects of Sin

A problem we have in our relativistic, post-Christian culture, is that the concept of sin is often felt to be hopelessly outdated. Despite the denial of sin in many circles today, the concept of right and wrong still exists in various ways. In the legal area, right and wrong are determined by our representatives and encoded in the law. We do legislate morality despite those who say that we can’t or shouldn’t do so. In the area of political correctness, right and wrong are established by whoever determines what is PC. In our own minds we have a strong sense of right and wrong, called conscience, and a good sense of was is fair and unfair. Kids, especially, have a keen sense of fairness – no fair!

Results of the Sinful Nature

The Apostle Paul spells out very clearly the results of following the desires of your sin nature, usually based on pride (Galatians 5:19-21a):

When you follow the desires of your sinful nature, the results are very clear: sexual immorality, impurity, lustful pleasures, idolatry, sorcery, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissension, division, envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other sins like these. NLT

Pride is often as the heart of many of these sins. If we realize that these behaviors are based on false premises, then we might not be as inclined to do them. In a future posting we will examine each of these sins in more detail.

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