Structural sin - Hope 103.2

Structural sin

By David ReayTuesday 8 Aug 2017LifeWords DevotionalsFaithReading Time: 0 minutes


Read Isaiah 10:1-2

1           What sorrow awaits the unjust judges
                 and those who issue unfair laws.
2           They deprive the poor of justice
                 and deny the rights of the needy among my people.
             They prey on widows
                 and take advantage of orphans. (NLT)

The former Brazilian Archbishop Helder Camara was famous (or infamous to some!) for his work on behalf of the poor in his country. He once said that when he fed the poor he was called a saint, but when he asked why they were poor he was called a communist.

He was highlighting an issue that still divides Christians. We can be so preoccupied with issues of personal morality and the need for personal repentance that we overlook the wider structures of sin. It is not that societies as such sin: it is rather that the sins of individuals in society cause that society to reflect sin. So we need not only confront the sins of individuals, but the sins which have infected the society in which we live.

Christians on the ‘left’ have been known to preach against social injustice while being careless on matters of sexual morality. Christians on the ‘right’ have been known to speak out against sexual immorality while endorsing laws which suppress the rights of the poor. But we need to tackle sin at all levels.

No use simply urging people to repent and just wait for the salvation of heaven. God cares for our welfare here and now as well as in the future. We are to love people not just ‘souls’ (though in fact the words mean much the same thing). In so doing, we will be captives to neither the right nor the left in politics. We will be a thorn in both sides.

David Reay