The Language of Worship Part 1
How We Talk About Sin
Seen the new Lion King yet? Brenda and I saw it on opening night and thanks to our mature age we paid only five bucks each for an evening show! The point though is this - here is yet another world-famous story that has to do with identity and the purpose of life.
How many times have you heard someone ask, "What is the purpose of life?" How many times have you asked the same question? The story always resonates because relationship is the purpose of life and identity lies at the heart of relationship. Every person on the planet can relate to identity and relationship.
One of the most significant realizations I have had on my 'Worship is Life' journey is how much more relational our language could be when we talk about, well, relationship. This is especially true as we talk about relationship with God, which always translates into relationship with others, so this is 'your life depends on it' kind of stuff.
This series of blogs will examine some of the words we use in our language about God that are intended to be relational words. But with overuse and underdevelopment they have lost the fullness of their relational dynamic. They have largely been compartmentalized or become designations. Nouns instead of verbs. And when they are used as verbs there is more focus on the act, whether a 'sin' or a 'good deed', rather than on the relationship in which the act takes place.
Let's start by taking a look at the word 'sin'. The definition of the original words that we translate into the word 'sin' has a very relational context. The word means 'offense'...offense against our relationship with God and others with self at the center. But we seem to rarely hear sin described this way. We often hear sin talked about as a force, or alluding to a bad action on our part, or a whole pile of bad actions on our part. All of those descriptions have elements of truth but leave out the part that matters most; our selfishness leading to hurting our relationships. The way we talk about sin so often keeps the focus on ourselves...we need to be saved from our sins, we need to be forgiven from our sins. True, but the sins involve our relationship with others, including God, not just ourselves. If there has been a sin committed that means there is a relationship that needs mended.
God always looks through the lens of relationship. Everything God does is in the context of relationship. All of God's instructions for living (commands) are in the context of relationship. I have shifted my language about sin to call it for what it is...self-centeredness that leads to hurting others. This causes me to look beyond myself and look to my relationships with others.
Staying engaged in my relationship with God throughout each day is the only hope I have of loving others consistently and unconditionally...my wife, my kids, and every person I come in contact with each day.
Worship equals relationship. Relationship is the purpose of life. Worship is Life!
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