Last night at confirmation we were discussing the Lutheran concept of being both a sinner and a saint simultaneously. Many of the students grasped the concept that we are sinners by our natural tendencies to be self-centered but that God forgives us and makes us saints because of God’s gracious love. So in a small group a student asked, “If God will always forgive me, why do I need to worry about sin. It just doesn’t matter, I can do what I want and be forgiven.”
I responded, “Yes, God forgives our sin, but our sin does not simply hurt God. Sin frequently hurts and harms others and ourselves. For example, you may lie to your parents about being at a friend’s house, but actually you were at a party with alcohol. Your parents discover the lie and they may forgive you, but their trust in you is broken. They not sure whether you are telling the truth when you talk with them again. Your sin of lying caused harm to your relationship with your parents as well as with God.”
Another example is when someone abuses alcohol. Over time the abuse can lead to addiction which can harm the drinker’s body and also the relationship with family and friends. The one act of drinking is not the sin, but the constant abuse of it leads to brokenness and harm.
Sin is not only want I do that breaks God’s rules (such as cursing), but also sin has other repercussions that can hurt myself and others. Forgiveness often involves the need for healing in relationships and myself. Fortunately, God is able to bring healing to us as well. Micah 4:2 But for you who revere my name, the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its wings.