March 2023 Connection

Rubber Band S#%

Sin. There, I said it! It’s a word that we seem to want to avoid as often as possible. I cannot tell you how many times I’ve heard people offer their pastor the critique of “I wish you wouldn’t talk about sin so much,” or my personal favorite, the veiled critique of, “It’s nice to hear a sermon that didn’t talk about sin, for once.” The word “sin” has even taken on its own monikers, such as the “three letter word” or, as I’ve done in the title, omitted words as if it’s a curse to even write the word, let alone speak it.
Okay, you’ve probably picked up on my facetiousness, but there is a significant amount of truth in it, as well. We don’t like talking about sin, and I’m convinced it’s because we don’t really know what it is. We assume that it’s breaking God’s law – which is fair, but still a very vague description? Or, maybe we
focus in on the 10 commandments. After all, we like neat, concise lists, and there is some truth to this, as well. But “sin” isn’t really a noun, as in a set of rules, sin is really more a relational verb.
What do I mean by a relational verb? It’s actually pretty simple. Sin or sinning is something that we do. That makes it a verb. It’s relational, because it is something that we do in relation to another – God, a neighbor, or ourselves. So here is the definition I like to work with when I think about sin:
“Sin is the action, word, or thought, intended or otherwise, that creates distance between us and God, us and others, and/or even within ourselves.” 
-Pastor Brian
So, here’s where the rubber band comes in. If you have one, take it out and follow my instructions. If you don’t have one, just pretend…you’ll still get the idea.
Holding the rubber band loosely on both of you index fingers, your left index finger representing you, and your right index finger representing God. Now, with no tension on the rubber band, consider that this is the relationship we deeply want to have with God. It represents an almost closeness, maybe even a sense of comfort. This feels good, and because there is no tension on the rubber band, it may even feel effortless. This is where we want to be in our life with God. 
But then, sin comes in. Now, remember that sin is anything that puts distance  between us a God. So, gently, pull your left index finger (you) away from your right (God). As we “commit sin” this is what we are doing. We (not God) are putting distance between us and God. The more we sin, the more distance we
have. Go ahead, keep adding distance.
Now, as you add more and more distance, what are you are beginning to feel is tension. The rubber band is constantly pulling you (your left index finger) back toward God (your right index finger). We call the rubber band “grace” or even just “love.” God’s loving grace is constantly pulling us back toward God. God
NEVER pushes us away. God only pulls us back toward God’s self. Why? It’s because close to God is where we feel good. Close to God is where we feel at home.
Now, let’s go one step further. Imagine now that your right index finger is you and your left index finger is your neighbor (this can be absolutely anyone). When your neighbor (lefty) sins against you, they create distance from you? The more they sin against you, the more distance they create. The question then is, how is your rubber band holding up? Is the pull of your love the same as the pull of God’s love, or are we more tempted to let the rubber band snap – or even just take it off? We are invited by God to share the same love that is in Christ Jesus. We are invited to remember the pull of God’s grace which pulls us back despite our sin, and, in turn, seek right relationship with our neighbors through grace.
Friends, it is my commitment to you to never let go of the rubber band we share, together. I hope that you will share in that commitment with me.
Pastor Brian
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