We Need More Sinners, Or The Squeaky Clean Make Squeaky Wheels

For some reason religion, when in the hands of teenagers, tends to go only one of two directions: shyness/embarrassment or annoyingly vocal. I tended more towards the former, very much so inspired by my peers who were the latter.

I know a teenager who is incredibly devout. He seems almost old-school in his piety – taking great care to shield his ears from the music his peers take in veraciously, keeping a short leash on his tongue, and he reads his Bible half a dozen times a day. Despite all that, he is not obnoxious or the squeaky wheel when it comes to his faith.

So why did he break my unfair, overgeneralized mold about the two types of religious teenagers?

Because he’s a registered sex offender.

I think it’d do Christians better if they sinned more. I know that sounds terribly odd, but I think for many of us raised in very strict Christians homes we are taught how to keep our religious codes with sniper-like precision. Santa visits them ever year. Their confessions are as weak as the coffee in a mechanic’s waiting room because they’ve got nothing to release from the vault. And that’s exactly why they are so annoying and loud.

For being a teenager this teenager I know is incredibly humble – no doubt because he has already fallen hard, nearly as hard as you can fall in our culture, and landed bloody on the ground. He is meeting Jesus and finding redemption, and that isn’t translating into a fiery, over-the-top personality bent on declaring all of the faults of his surroundings.

I hope I really don’t need to make the disclaimer that I’m not suggesting we purposefully go out and sin. But maybe it’d do us some good to actually sin and wipe away the self-righteousness that seems to grow as quickly as weeds in a garden.I don’t think his crime is a good thing, but it’s taught himself invaluable about the proper way to express his faith.

I point a dozen times a week here that we Jesus seems to turn our whole existence into opposite day. Sinners should not be quarantined or beaten down, for they are the most powerful among us and have the strongest witness. Sinlessness does not give the greatest testimony, but in fact it’s sinners who aren’t going to hell but are merely coming back.

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7 Responses to We Need More Sinners, Or The Squeaky Clean Make Squeaky Wheels

  1. David says:

    The unfortunate consequences of sin are a good reason not to sin. Sin always hurts our relationship with not only God, but others as well. Sin and family curses visit generation after generation; in fact our DNA a record of those sins. IE: hereditary disease, cancer, alcoholism etc.

    Sin seems pleasurable at the time. Until a drunk teen (or adult) kills your spouse and child on their way home from shopping for dinner. How about the bullies in school that hurl insults at another until they commit suicide? (Happened here in MA)

    Finally, self-righteousness, it is sin. Pride and arrogance are just as damaging, Religion is a killer. It doesn’t matter what one it is.

    So, Charlie, my question is this: What sin is good to have committed – which one has the most benefit? You have a daughter. Will it be OK if she comes home with tats and a 100 facial piercings? What if she shows up pregnant at 14 claiming that she used condoms? What if she is the drunk driver at 16 that ends up in an accident that maims her and a best friend?

    It sounds like we are asking for “safe sin.” I am not so sure there is any.

    I am all for redemptive testimonies, but they are not required. (Jesus did say whoever falls on the rock will be broken, and those that don’t will be crushed!) I suppose sin that breaks us from self-sufficiency is better than remaining lost, but is that really necessary; why not just gt saved for real?

  2. Darius says:

    I don’t think Christians need to sin more… the Bible kinda indicates the opposite, in fact… but I DO think they need to confess more. Christians have plenty of sin to confess, we just don’t do it because there is an unwritten rule (or perhaps tendency) in some churches that we’re expected to be perfect. Good pastors preach 1 John 2:1 and James 5:16. A great book to read on so-called “respectable sins” is Jerry Bridges’ book by that very name.

  3. Larry Hehn says:

    I get the message here, Charlie. We need a greater awareness of our own fallibility and need for grace. I know that I did not have enough appreciation of God’s mercy and grace until I fell hard myself. It took a major sin issue in my life for me to develop the proper attitude. Now I do my best to approach things with the attitude that David expresses in Psalm 51 – thanks for the grace that God has extended to me, and a joyful invitation for others to share in the grace He extends to all.

  4. Larry Hughes says:

    I don’t think sin is good in any dose. I don’t think sin causes heriditary diseases such as Cancer, M.S., Asthma, Diabetis, or Heart conditions. That is caused by environmental factors, faulty DNA, or living conditions beyond one’s control. It is only been over the last decade or so that medical science has linked such deseases to the proper factors mentioned above.

    The flesh is of sin thus we are sinners. However, there is many degrees of sin and levels. Most being brought up today are taught the humanist view of “if it feels ok then it is ok to do it” . Be it stealing, drugs, rape, killing , immoral acts, child molestation, and what ever; we still have to have sound moral guidelines taught to the general population to prevent sinful and immoral acts. The scriptures do provide a sound foundation to live by whether one is a Christian or an athiest.

    It is just that today the moral guidelines are slowly being erroded by the free will concept of what ever you want to do is OK and it is your choice. be it good or bad. As far as pious people’s confessions are a weak as Coffee in a mechanics waiting room, I would have to think they are hiding a deep dark secret that they are ashamed to confess least it smear their Christian appearance.

    That is why I never profess to being a devout sinless Christian because I know I am a sinner un worthy of God’s grace. We will always be sinners in the fesh untill we are forgiven and repent of our sins through Jesus Christ.

  5. Su says:

    I’m with everyone else in that Christians shouldn’t be looking for chances to sin. However, I think your friend illustrates a truism– those who have been the farthest from Jesus cling the tightest when they find him.

  6. Carla says:

    I think Larry Hehn said it best, we don’t need more sin, we need more confessions. You did say you weren’t encouraging anyone to sin, so I’m not taking you literally here. But when you talk about all the self-righteous Christians whose testimony is weak I think it is more like their humility is weak, their desire to please God is weak. If one is self-righteous and reeking of piety than that person probably is only confessing things like not reading his Bible enough, and keeping his true sins hidden and unconfessed. Even boring Christians have stories to tell. We are selfish, we are prideful, we are filled with nasty thoughts. But if we confess that to our brothers and sisters and most importantly to our Lord, Jesus, seeking repentance and a desire to change, our story is just as strong as someone who came out of “bigger sin”. There is not a lack of sin in Christianity, there is a lack of a willingness to be transformed out of our sin.

  7. Lisa says:

    I see some powerful truth in this. Long ago, I had the experience of knowing someone who was that sort of offender. To me, he was the most humble man in our church. He was a broken man. He was afraid to be judged, and it seemed everyone had it over him. I found the whole thing confusing. But it gives us pause to met our sin head-on. It’s dangerous business too, because we are also confronted, by consequence, by the holiness of God, and his strange, wonderful, and even terrifying mercy.

    We like to categorize sin. Number it, 1-10-like. If we saw our so-called “small sins”, like jealousy, bitterness, malice, etc. for what they are, we might conduct our lives very differently.

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