In the media and on online discussion boards, the topic of sin has surfaced recently. There are many culturally and religiously created definitions of sin. My preferred definition of sin is of acts or attitudes or beliefs that foster separation: from God, from others, and from self.
The acts may be ones of commission, and they may be ones of omission. Killing someone and standing by with the resources to help while someone starves to death are both acts of sin. Wanting revenge or feeling excessively proud of oneself are parallel to not caring about someone in our circle.
The net effect of sin is to make our circle of connection smaller, and to make ourselves less. Growing up, and living in, a society that continually fosters disruption of relationships and encourages shallow self-centeredness, it is almost impossible to avoid sinning altogether.
One approach to combatting sin is to deliberately and persistently seek connections: with self, with others and with God. This was the center of Jesus’ mission, and it is still the center of the Church’s mission in the world. Worship, music, prayer, healing, social action, and preaching properly serve as they contribute to building connections. Today social media are a tool being used by billions of people for making connections, and churches need to be involved by offering opportunities for connections that build people up and connections that foster feelings of belonging.
In this context, salvation is the process of reducing sin by creating or restoring connections. It is for the lives we are living now at least as much as it may be for whatever may come after death. After all, the root meaning of salvation is making whole.
My wish to you is that you are having salvation experiences: your incredible worth as a human being, as a child of God is being affirmed; barriers to connections with others are being lowered or eliminated; and your sense of the loving presence of God in your life is being enhanced.
May God help each and all of us reduce the disconnections in our lives and heal our connections.