The impending veto by Governor Brewer made it a little crazy in Arizona last week. There was confusion around what HB 1062 intended to accomplish. Perhaps it was clearer to some but as with all poorly written legislation, it was at best confusing and at worst it was discriminatory. The whole issue however was a great opportunity to discuss the love of God and sin with people who you might not ever have had the chance to. I missed my usual Monday morning posting again this week, which makes me feel like I missed a commitment. I had opportunities to write this last week but did other things instead; perhaps even wasted time. Some would argue that I sinned in both regards, but what else is new? I know that not a day goes by that I don’t sin and most of the time I’m completely unaware of it. Someone last week asked the question, are there degrees of sin? It was a great question because some people have a hard time accepting “big sins” but easily overlook the “small” ones; but sin is sin. I will argue that all of the discussions, arguments and debates were focused on the wrong part of the equation; we focused on the sin. “Love the sinner, hate the sin” was the big take away many people had. While it’s a good one, we kept the focus on the sin. I looked at a number of passages for this week that focused on God’s love, living in peace and some on sin but remembered to focus on why this whole dialog started – fear.
“Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” John 14:28
The other side of the equation that no one discussed was forgiveness. There is not a day that goes by that we all don’t sin. We can’t avoid it no matter what we do, thanks to Adam and Eve. Sin came into this world to destroy it but God had other plans. God loves us despite our sins. 16“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. 18Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.” (John 3:16-18) We are forgiven, period. No amount of sin, no degrees of sin, no amount of guilt or fear can change that we are forgiven through faith in Jesus. Yes, we should love our neighbor as ourselves and yes, we should hate the sin, not the sinner but we should never be afraid because we are forgiven.