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Why Sin MattersDon't sweep sin under the carpet

It's good to read Christian books from working psychologists, and this is one of them. It is Why Sin Matters: the surprising relationship between our sin and God's grace by Mark R. McMinn (Tyndale House, 2004, ISBN 0-8423-8365-4).

Sin can be cured only by grace, and if we avoid admitting our sin by cloaking our predicament in other vocabulary we shut the door to God's grace. This is a ruthlessly honest book that leaves the reader humbled and more God-oriented.

People in the grips of sin used to visit a priest to confess and seek reconciliation. Today we go to the psychotherapist, from whom we learn that our behaviour is understandable, the product of our parents' conduct or our spouse's need for control. Or perhaps our behaviour is a symptom of a chemical imbalance. We exchange the language of sin for the language of self-help books or pop psychology. (p20)

Sadly, psychology sometimes undermines healthy guilt, assuming that good mental health means always thinking positive thoughts about oneself. (p43)

The Christian story is ultimately a comedy and not a tragedy. (p53)

One of the clearest conclusions from social science research is that we are proud. We think we are better than we really are, we see our faults in faint black and white rather than in vivid colour, and we assume the worst in others while assuming the best in ourselves.  (p68)

What a beautiful discipline it is to strain to find value in others' perspectives and to strain to find fault in our own. (p80)

The frightening thing is that we cannot know our areas of incompetence because if we lack the skills required to be competent, we also lack the skills to know we are incompetent. The only way we can see ourselves clearly is through the eyes of another. We need the wisdom to listen. (p93)

We would not cry out for help if there were not some inherent awareness that we are worth saving. So let's cry out boldly – in the harmony of human community, naming our sin and grieving our pain – and look expectantly for the dawn of grace. (p109)

In our postmodern era we have many spiritualities swirling around us. Christian spirituality is distinct from the others at many points, but the differences in this first step are utterly profound. Christian spirituality is not so much about finding ourselves as it is admitting our inability to find ourselves. It is not so much about searching inwardly for truth as it is admitting our inner weakness and looking outwardly for a transcendent God who is Truth. (p134)

We were built for a place without sin: where justice flows freely, divine kindness prevails, bodies no longer decay, goodness is a way of life, love is never selfish, truth overflows, and beauty requires no implants. As familiar as our current surroundings may seem, however acculturated we may have become, this broken world is not our home. (p143)

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