We began with a brief recap from the previous week on the nature and goodness of Humanity….at least the way it was intended to be. I realize that many have different theological views on the nature of sin, specifically the inherent aspect of it. Some people view small children as “little sinners” while others see purity, innocent, and God’s original image in them.
No matter what one’s view may be, what is clear is that eventually something happened in our Story (humanity) and happens in our lives (personal “sin”)
We had a group discussion on the prevalence of evil and the consequences of people’s willful disobedience and poor choices.
Selfishness, pride, neglect, abuse, theft, murder, adultery, divorce, wars, starvation, injustices, etc.. are all evident in our world. Simply read the newspapers, watch TV, travel the world, or go to school and the evils of our world are on display.
Our students shared how sin has personally affected them-their homes; their hearts; their lives
To delve a bit deeper theologically into the nature and origins of sin, we begin with a sort of description:
Sin involves people withdrawing from God through their actions, words, and thoughts because they believe there’s something better.
Josh and Will divided up the readings this evening and in between each section of the story, I offered somewhat of a running commentary throughout.
1) For the first part of our group dialog we examined this questioned: What caused Sin?
The dream of God- our trust and reliance upon him
Genesis 2: 16-17
Genesis 3- The disobedience
A follow-up question was this: How does sin affect us?
A) Sin damages our relationship with God, including peace, unity, and purpose
Genesis 3: 4-10
Who does the hiding?
Sin causes shame and hiding from God. God is not hiding from us because of our sin.
B) Sin limits our relationships with others
Genesis 3: 11-13
Now enters into the human condition and story pointing the finger and blaming
Tension and drama, lies and deceit now occur between friends and lovers.
C) Sin distorts our relationship with Creation
Genesis 3: 17-19
2) For the second part of our group discussion we looked into this question: Are there different kinds of Sin?
One of our recent college grads turned youth leader, Becky, lead our group in
7 Deadly Sins Activity
*Truth be told, I wanted to show clips from this movie but just couldn’t justify it!
What we did though, was to create large posters with words, images, and definitions of each of the Deadly Sins.
We allowed students to use dictionaries on their phones to look up the actual words and find synonymous that were a bit more user-friendly than Wrath or Sloth
Once students started to realize the breadth of certain “larger” sins they were quickly able to depict many other “sins” within that category
Here are a few examples:
Gluttony: obesity, indulging in too much of anything, over consumption, materialism, consumerism, not taking care of your body, drunkenness
Sloth: laziness, apathy, complacency, not doing what you should, not caring about people or things, not giving time or energy to God
Becky had some definitions in advance in order to help each team think more broadly and creatively. Here is one sample she had:
Pride is excessive belief in one’s own abilities, that interferes with the individual’s recognition of the grace of God. It has been called the sin from which all others arise. Pride is also known as Vanity.
Envy is the desire for others’ traits, status, abilities, or situation.
Gluttony is an inordinate desire to consume more than that which one requires.
Lust is an inordinate craving for the pleasures of the body.
Anger is manifested in the individual who spurns love and opts instead for fury. It is also known as Wrath.
Greed is the desire for material wealth or gain, ignoring the realm of the spiritual. It is also called Avarice or Covetousness.
Sloth is the avoidance of physical or spiritual work.
3) Some noteworthy follow-up questions resulting from the activity included the following:
Are some sins worse than others?
What would be some examples?
Are there BIG SINS and then little sins?
What may be the difference?
4) What might be some examples of the following:
(I spent just a minute trying to explain the differences of these categories)
- neglectful sin
- ignorant sin
- willful sin
5) My wife concluded our time together in leading a corporate time of Confession based from the 7 Deadly Sins
“Lord in times when we have acted out in wrath and anger towards you or something else, we confess….”
“God, forgive us for allowing pride to rule our hearts. Show us times in our lives and conversations when pride has dominated.”
“Reveal to us who we may envy and certain things we may covet in our lives.”
*She spent a few minutes in each category, using the examples and illustrations the students came up with. The hope for self-realization of the impact and scope of sin in our lives and how it affects those around us. The hope and prayer were also to lead students in personal times of silent confession to God.
As soft contemplative music was playing in the background, we encouraged the students to find someone else they may want to open up and share things with. Thanks to Christ, we do not need a mediator to confess our sins to God. However, Scripture and experience attest to the power, beauty, and healing of sharing your stuff with someone else.
We allowed time for this to happen before, during, and after our small group session, but also encouraged students to send private texts or Facebook messages if that was easier.
6) We try to end each night in small group time with the groups divided by age and gender. Here are the questions provided in advance to the leaders.
Small Group Questions:
Can something be a sin for you but not for someone else?
What about certain things the Bible does not talk about?
Share a moment when someone’s sin affect you?
Share a moment when your “sin” brought separation between you and others?
Share a moment when your sin brought you closer to God?
Next Week: Salvation
*Ideas and Concepts adapted from book Clear: Theological Foundations of Faith by Chris Folmbsee