Whatever Became of Sin?


Have you ever heard the expression, “Confession is good for the soul?” Well it is—and in 1 John we are told why.

If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word has no place in our lives. — 1 John 1:8-10

In 1973, noted psychiatrist, Dr. Karl Menninger, founder of the famous Menninger Clinic in Topeka, KS, shocked the psychiatric community with a best selling book which debunked many of the psychiatric theories of that day and today. It was called, “Whatever Became Of Sin?”

After many years of experience in his field, Dr. Menninger came to the conclusion, that mental health and moral health were identical—and the reality of sin, which has all but disappeared from our contemporary vocabulary, offers the best hope to the suffering, struggling and anxious world for treatment and prevention.

Here’s an excerpt from Dr. Menninger’s book stating his observations and his challenge: “In all of the laments and reproaches made by our contemporary seers and prophets, one misses any mention of “Sin.” Does that mean that no sin is involved in all our troubles—sin with a capital “I” in the middle? Is no one any longer guilty of anything? Guilty perhaps of a sin that could be repented and repaired or atoned for? Is it only that someone may be stupid or sick or criminal—or asleep? Wrong things are being done, we know; tares are being sown in the wheat field at night (Matthew 13:25-40) but is no one responsible, no one answerable for these acts? Anxiety and depression we all acknowledge, and even vague guilt feelings; but has no one committed any sins? Where, indeed, did sin go? What became of it?”

The word “sin” in the Bible is an interesting word. It literally means, “to miss the mark.” It’s similar to someone shooting at a bullseye and missing the whole target. Now let’s face it. We all “miss the mark” (Romans 3:23) but here’s the good news. When we do, what does God tell us to do about it? Well, He doesn’t tell us to rush off to our neighborhood psychiatrist—He doesn’t even insist we go see our Pastor or church counselor. No, God wants us to confess our sins—to Him. Remember David’s cry in Psalm 139, “Search me, O God, and know my heart. Test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there be any wicked way in me and lead me in the way everlasting” (Psalm 139:23-240. When He does show us our sins let’s repent and confess them as quickly as possible, as He tells us to do in His word.

How do we best do that? We can start by just telling Him we’re sorry—and mean it. Tell Him that you’re going to do your best not to do it again and if you’ve offended someone in the process, maybe you should tell them you’re sorry, too (Matthew 5:23-24). It’s amazing what those three little words, “I am sorry,” can do for any relationship, especially the most important one of all—with our Heavenly Father.

What will be the result when we do?, “he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”

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