Chapter 4 of God is Love is all about church life. As many of you know I have been in church all my life, attending a variety of different denominations. In this chapter I cover the contrast between the old law and the law of love, how sin is rooted in fear, how forgiveness takes us from a place of fear to love, the fears associated with church and with giving and how the next great revival will be founded on love rather than on fear. Until I did the research for this book I had always just believed whatever I was told in church, trusting that those in leadership had the proper training and experience and knew what they were talking about. Now at this phase of my life I had the time to rethink a lot of what I had been taught, questioning everything and discovering how other people interpret and understand church issues. I did not go through this process to intentionally look for everything wrong but rather to confirm that what I had believed was indeed true. However, in the process Holy Spirit shared information with me that allowed me to understand some things from a different perspective from what I had previously believed. I will share in this blog some of what I learned about sin.
In church, we are taught that we are sinners born with a sinful nature, that we are incapable of controlling our desires, that we need a savior to free us from sin, and that we cannot go to heaven if we commit certain sins. There is only one sin, and that is the sin of ignorance. All other sins stem from this one. Before we came to planet Earth our spirits and our souls were with God in a perfect state of love. When we were born as human beings, a veil was placed over us so we could not remember where we had come from, making it easier to live on the planet. However, God planted within each of us a desire to reconnect with him, and we spend our lives looking for something or someone to fill this need for love. In the process, we do a lot of things that harm ourselves and others. We call these things sins, and we usually refer to ourselves as sinners. Once we learn the truth about where we came from and are reconnected with God, we no longer live in ignorance. Now everything shifts and what we do is motivated by our love for God rather than our fear that God has abandoned us, or that he is going to punish us, or that we are all alone in the world.
We are now people who may choose to do something unloving, but that is not the same as being sinners. When we say, “I am a sinner,” we are defining ourselves as sinners. When we say, “I committed a sin,” we are reporting behavior that was not done in love but does not define who we are. We will become whatever we consistently believe and think about ourselves. If we continue to focus on being sinners, we will continue to struggle to overcome our sins. If we choose instead to focus on God’s description of who we are, creative, wonderful, loving beings, this is who we will become. Our desire for sin will fade away as we become who God created us to be. I like the way Eckhart Tolle expressed this: “You do not become good by trying to be good, but by finding the goodness that is already within you, and allowing that goodness to emerge.”