Acceptable Sin?

Let me start by giving my definition of sin. I don't see sin in a Bible beating "YOU'RE WRONG!" kind of way. I see sin as something that gradually hardens our hearts to the voice of a loving God.

So, what is acceptable sin? This is something I've always wondered about.

I recently watched a PG-13 movie that, at the end, I said,"Oh! That was great!" It was a romantic comedy and I was excited that "there wasn't too much junk in it." However, in that hour and a half, I listened to, watched and emotionally participated in a movie that had all kinds of stuff that I would never participate in – in real life. Is the story worth it? Why is that ok?

Why is it ok to watch actors do things or say things that we would never want to do?

Or is it?



4 Responses to “Acceptable Sin?”

  1. May 3, 2006 at 10:47 pm

    “Why is it ok to watch actors do things or say things that we would never want to do?”

    The same reason it is ok to read about David and Bathsheba. The same reason it is ok to read Sampson and Delilah. The same reason it is ok to read about the rape of Tamar. Because we exist in story. We understand life in story. To communicate, we tell stories. At its root, that is what filmmaking is. Often, that is what art is in general. That is certainly what much of the Old Testament is. Stories. Now you may say, “But those are stories about God.” Agreed. And they are also stories about monstrous unbelievable sin. And about people.

    I don’t think any story we can tell isn’t about God. It’s all about our lens; our perspective. If we live compartmentalized shattered existences, we will have areas that we view as being without God. But a Christian should understand God to be in every story, no matter how the storyteller frames it nor how we hear it. So I think a seemingly frivolous romantic comedy can certainly be edifying and uplifting if we understand God to be in all parts of life. It’s all in our lens. And I don’t think watching a story about people with sin in their lives is a sinful activity any more than listening to a friend tell you about her normal everyday, and yes, sinful life is. Nor is it any more a sinful activity than reading about the very human and sinful lives of our ‘heroes’ in the Bible.

  2. 2 Kat
    May 4, 2006 at 9:11 am

    Good points, Cach. Very thought provoking.

    I guess I’m still wondering, though, to what extent is “fire still fire” – whether we’re standing in the flames or we’re getting singed from afar?

    So, the reason this post came to mind was because my preschooler was recently shown the movie Toy Story. Call me uptight, but I would not have ok’ed the movie had I been given the option. I don’t recall his name at the moment, but the evil neighbor boy who enjoys maiming and torturing toys while sporting a really bad attitude isn’t who I want my little kids to be watching.

    Perhaps it’s coincidence, but we had more difficulty with a negative attitude, disobedience and even a bit of meanness that was not there before, in the 3-4 days following the movie than we had in the previous 9-12 months.

    Consequently, I’ve been thinking more that everything we expose ourselves to affects us one way or the other. Sometimes it may affect us radically, but sometimes it may affect us just little by little.

    I guess I’m not defining sin so much by rules of what I should do or shouldn’t do, but by what will benefit my relationship with God and what won’t.

    I guess it comes back to what Paul (I think it was Paul) said about things being permissable but not profitable. Maybe I just need to do a better job of evaluating which movies will be profitable…

  3. May 4, 2006 at 3:50 pm

    I get what you’re saying. And I certainly don’t hold the same standards for a child as for an adult. A child doesn’t understand the interplay of God and the world. We should. And I agree with you that everything that enters our life affects us. I should hope so! And I still think that if God is our God, we should always come out the better for a bigger picture of this world and His relationship to it. That’s not to say that things that come into our lives won’t cause us to struggle, it is simply to say that God is God. I would struggle if my sister came to me and told me she was pregnant out of wedlock. And that certainly has more bearing than a movie. But I think the concept is the same: things come at us from all directions. The only constant is God. He must be our lens and our guide no matter what comes to us. That is not to say that we should consume everything indiscriminantly; some things over which we have control are obviously crap. We don’t need to invite harm into our life, but we shouldn’t spend all of our energy insulating ourselves either. We should be ready to give an answer no matter what comes along. Good thoughts.

  4. 4 Kat
    May 4, 2006 at 10:39 pm

    I really like the way you put all that. Your comments have really broadened my perspective.

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