The shorter side of the scriptures tells just the parable and expands it to the issue of forgiveness of large and small sins. Oftentimes, today, we like to put a most favorable light on what society would have called “great sins.” We have downgraded them to minor infractions. Can we take away the effect and power of sin by just calling it something else? I wish it were true, but God calls a spade, a spade!
In my ministry in Beeville, I work with groups beyond the scope of my congregation. They include the Beeville Vineyard, the new Habitat for Humanity Affiliate in Bee County, chaplaincy work with a local Hospice agency and chaplaincy work with the Beeville Police Department. In these groups beyond my congregation, I find the opportunity to meet a different clientele than Lutherans. In these groups, we find a different language used. Most of them know to call a sin, a sin. But the language used with the Police Department often transcends the word sin and we use instead misdemeanors and felonies.
This points out only too well that some transgressions of the law have a heavier weight than others and some have even deeper judgmental capabilities as we find “classes” of misdemeanors or felonies. A children’s book, “The Topsy-Turvy Emperor of China” (1971) is about “a cruel despot, who by royal decree, pronounces all things that are normally considered wrong to be right.” What we learn in reading through this story is there is an end judgment – “simply declaring a behavior to be right and just does not automatically make it so.”
So is that thing called sin? “All of us fall short of the glory of God.” None of us are perfect and all break the bond of the loving relationship God desires for us to be with in Him. God has chosen to state what are the sins and all that we do to lower the weight of the word is merely failing action on our part.
In the end God will judge the sin and the sinner, but in the present He reminds us that Jesus, the Christ, came to take away the punishment of sin, because that is who he is and that is what he does. And we can be forgiven while yet being called “a sinner.”