Is any­thing a sin?

Siloam Springs Herald Leader - - NEWS - Ron Wood Colum­nist

The Har­vey We­in­stein scan­dal has brought an is­sue into the public light. Sex­ual preda­tors are scur­ry­ing like cock­roaches on the floor, run­ning from the light of ex­po­sure. Does this mean they have re­pented of their evil ways? Not nec­es­sar­ily. They are run­ning be­cause they fear get­ting caught. They feel the heat of scru­tiny and public sham­ing, whereas be­fore, they had no shame or re­morse. They got away with it un­til now.

Men at the peak of power who prac­ticed prey­ing upon women are be­ing forced to face their ac­cusers. Be­fore so many women joined the cam­paign to “out” them, their preda­tor’s money, fame or power gave them cover for ugly be­hav­ior. We’re now sen­si­tive to how fre­quently women at work (es­pe­cially in Hol­ly­wood) are ha­rassed or abused. Per­haps the days of Bill Clin­ton get­ting a pass be­cause he was a Demo­crat are over. Even the lib­eral me­dia is on the band­wagon to ex­pose preda­tors.

The is­sue isn’t who is in the news or who is be­ing sued. The big­ger is­sue is the ab­sence of per­sonal moral stan­dards among so many men in high places. The dis­re­spect for fe­males by un­re­gen­er­ate men is ap­palling. Has moral­ity dis­ap­peared? It seems that the wealthy or su­per­stars can use their priv­i­lege and fame to cast off re­straint. Any­thing goes. Noth­ing is counted as a sin. No moral stan­dard ap­plies to them, ex­cept, “Don’t get caught.” Is there any­thing wrong any­more?

For those of us who grew up in the South and were in­flu­enced by the church, com­mu­nity stan­dards were taught to all of us men. Re­spect younger women as though they were sis­ters. Treat older women as though they were mothers. Be a gen­tle­man. Don’t lie, cheat or steal. Raise your kids to know right from wrong. Be faith­ful to your wife. Yes, abusers ex­isted, but they didn’t seem as com­mon. Women have a right to be an­gry for be­ing mis­treated for so long. They de­serve bet­ter.

News re­porters call what We­in­stein and oth­ers are ac­cused of do­ing mis­be­hav­ior, an il­le­gal act, an eth­i­cal vi­o­la­tion. Or, per­haps it was an ad­dic­tion. Maybe the abusers are the vic­tims rather than the women they vic­tim­ized? Call it what you will, the fact is that what sex­ual preda­tors, serial rapists and abusers of power have been se­cretly do­ing to women is not only sick, it is a sin. It is a sin be­cause it is a tres­pass against an­other per­son. It crosses the line, goes be­yond the bound­ary of what is de­cent and right, and is wicked.

Sin is de­fined in the Bi­ble as a trans­gres­sion of God’s law. It is fall­ing short of the mark — the divine im­age in which we were cre­ated. God cre­ated hu­mans with a free will, al­low­ing for bril­liance or de­prav­ity, lim­it­less po­ten­tial or re­bel­lion and ruin. It’s your choice. We have a con­science — un­less it is seared.

The op­po­site of sin is god­li­ness. When we re­flect the char­ac­ter, na­ture and be­hav­ior of our Heav­enly Fa­ther, we dis­play virtues that re­sem­ble heaven’s high­est Be­ing. Why sink to the level of an­i­mals — with­out af­fec­tion, dig­nity or no­bil­ity? The good news of what Je­sus did for us is that sin­ners can be saved and for­give­ness can be re­ceived. God’s grace teaches us to turn away from un­godly con­duct.

— Ron Wood is a writer and min­is­ter. Con­tact him at wood.stone.ron@gmail.com or visit www.touched­by­grace.org. The opin­ions ex­pressed are those of the au­thor.

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