Ultimately, we know that all societal ills are sins and all sins are against God. Whether it’s violence, theft, racism, etc. – it’s all a sin problem at its root. As followers of Christ, we understand this.
But why is it that certain societal ills (for example) are called out, i.e. abortion, practicing homosexuality, whereas other issues, i.e. racism, gun violence, or sexual abuse, are labeled as simply a general “sin problem?”
Of Course It’s All Sin
As followers of Christ, we know this as fact. And some will argue, very fairly, that acts such as racism, gun violence, and sexual abuse are more generally accepted and highly shunned as sins. Whereas acts such as abortion and practicing homosexuality are heavily debated as sins; and because they’re growing to be more generally accepted, they warrant direct mention and intervention. Okay.
But this notion of blanketing racism, gun violence, sexual abuse, and others as “just another sin,” while true in fact, is often deflectionary in spirit or tone; deflecting towards braving the mess, wrestling with the hard questions and underlying issues, and working towards practical solutions. Blanketing sin in this way rather than confronting the realities of prevalent issues reinforces keeping the status quo.
Anything opposed to God and His ways is and always will be sinful. And dealing with sin is ultimately a matter of the heart that the Gospel answers. But sharing the truth of the Gospel doesn’t mean we don’t also follow up with action. This begins with acknowledging the realities of where we are and what we’re dealing with.
We’re quick to respond with protest and legislation for issues around abortion and gay marriage but when it’s racism, gun violence, or sexual abuse, then our response is, “it’s a sin problem, just preach the Gospel.” We’re happy to itemize sin according to the standard of our political party or ideology but what about the other prevalent things that God cares about?
Braving The Mess
There’s Scriptural precedent for calling out select sins and even God Himself refers to some sins as abominations, though they’re all still considered sins. Yet still, while repentance/heart change should always be the proper common denominator in our response, our response shouldn’t be devoid of practical action backed by faith.
In 1 Corinthians 8.13, Paul demonstrates one example of practical faith in action by declaring that if eating meat (in this particular dispute) causes his fellow man/woman to fall prey to sin, then he will avoid doing that. As believers in the living God, we also understand that faith without works is meaningless (James 2.14-26).
Preach the Gospel. Live the Gospel. Proclaim the Truth. Save the lost. Disciple the found. Yes, yes, yes, and yes. But this needs our action too. Living out the ways of God
Just Do Something
“Just do something” alone will not solve this. Nor will clinging to our blame of choice ( Godlessness, mental health, guns, poverty, etc.). Why is it that there can only be one problem at fault as if we live in a vacuum? We don’t.
The problems of our world are varied and complex. And if we’re honest, these issues are like a tree of several branches that require a multifaceted approach – not apart from faith or the Gospel, but with it.
We will certainly disagree about what kinds of actions and measures are needed to tackle the issues of our day. But we’ll never approach the problem if we’re not willing to come to the table. And we cannot conquer what we won’t confront.