Have you ever been in animated conversation with a nonbeliever who just cannot say the word sin without air quotes?
What if we Christians, when speaking to nonbelievers, replaced the word sin with the word pain?
How many people who shut their ears to the Gospel would linger just a moment longer, give a benefited doubt to a few more sentences.
He overcomes the pain of the world…
Your pain is healed, go, and be in pain no more…
Hate the pain, not the patient
This is what we mean by sin, isn’t it? The pain of separation from God. This is of course an acquired torture. Only those who have felt the ecstatic presence of God can feel His absence as agony.
Nonbelievers do feel His absence in the inevitable rupture of their personal lives, but they have no reference to its cause. Appeals to psychiatry, group therapy, self-empowerment workshops all fail every objective but the financial gain of the practitioners.
That is for those seeking help. Others try to hide the pain in sex, or adventure, or danger, or toys, and we can see instantly there is no chance of an attained end with thrills that require ever more risk. Those not inclined towards self-examination or dangerous pursuits can simply flick the emotional default switch and not think about it at all. The human mind can hide as well as seek. Until it can’t.
Nonbelievers can be in heated, indignant denial of the very existence of “sin”, but have no such recourse to the existence of pain. No one puts air quotes around that word . We each of us know personally what it means.