All Have Sinned

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All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. (Rom. 3:23)

There is not a just man on earth who does good and does not sin. (Eccl. 7:20)

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In a world full of warring tribes ripping each other to shreds, one fundamental Bible doctrine offers the first step toward healing. Until we all learn to appreciate this universal truth, the hatred and killing will not stop. 

All of us are sinners. Black, white, red, yellow . . . straight, gay, trans . . . male, female, binary . . . old, young, middle-age . . . believer, atheist, pantheist . . . every single one of us is failing to live up to our potential. We all make mistakes, often very serious mistakes that mess up our own lives and the lives of others around us. The entire human race is marinating in a toxic stew of bad attitudes and corrupt behaviors that is destroying us. 

"Fools mock at sin" (Prov. 14:9), because only a fool would make light of something so destructive. Sin is a violation of what God designed us to be. It short-circuits our potential for doing good in this world, and turns us instead into monsters wreaking havoc on the social order. Whether it's relationship blow-ups, racial and ethnic tensions, or criminal mayhem, it all stems from the same ugly source: Individuals in mass numbers making poor choices in their lives. Sin is not a social disease, but a personal one. Each one of us is guilty; and each one of us must take responsibility for what we are doing. 

If I dismiss the funny noise coming from under the hood of my car as nothing to worry about, I will eventually be stuck on the side of the road with a broken-down automobile. It's the same with sin. We can mock, ridicule, dismiss and deny the reality of sin all we want; but it's still there, slowly disintegrating the lives of everyone it touches. When the whole system collapses, we will have only ourselves to blame. We did not take our sin problem seriously, until it was too late. 

The beauty of the gospel is that it offers redemption and hope in this crisis. The sins of our past can be forgiven. We can find wisdom and strength to recognize the hideous errors we are perpetrating and not only avoid them, but replace them with character traits that foster harmony and good will. We can even learn how to respond to the sins of others without resorting to retaliation or revenge. 

But the healing must begin with a first step: an unqualified confession that I am a sinner. Until I can muster the humility to admit that, the cancer will continue to spread.