It has been said that relationships are the centerpiece of the human experience. Without them, life seems to lose its meaning. Even early in life, we begin to dream of someday finding our soul mate, starting a family, and enjoying the times together. Our life consists of an entire portfolio of various types of relationships. Friends, neighbors, rivals, and even strangers all contribute to the delicate blend of relationships that make up our experience of life. Needless to say, experiencing a relationship with God is a crucial part of the equation.
But there's a drawback to all these relationships, and invariably it leads to conflict and problems as we interact with others. By nature, entering into a relationship means giving up the freedom of going it alone. Instead of calling all the shots in our private nation, we are forced to revise our plans to include the desires of others. Frankly, it's an ongoing struggle.
The same is true with God. On one hand, we want a meaningful connection with our Creator. But on the other hand, we'd like to do things our own way. So in an attempt to establish good terms with God, we ask the question, "What do I need to do. We want to quantify the ways that we can earn God's favor. We’ll follow the rules, attend church, and give some money, whatever it takes to be good enough. Unfortunately, our true motive is simply to live our lives our way... as much as possible... without forfeiting the relationship we need so
desperately. We want it both ways.
The problem is twofold. First, if we're not careful, we take what could have been a beautiful relationship and reduce it down to contractual terms. In lieu of sincerely putting God first in our lives, we began to "work" the list of dos and don'ts, looking for ways to get by without really knowing him. As a result, we exchange the very thing we want - relationship — for what we don't need more of — rules. But the second issue is even bigger: the nature of sin.
The apostle Paul says that we're all sinful (Romans 3:23), which comes as no new revelation. But, the problem with our wrongdoing is that we just don't see it the way God does. After all, humankind didn't think sin was that big a deal to begin with. Doubting God's wisdom was apparently worth the risk. Even today, we tend to be more concerned about inconveniences in our lives than with sin. We've become used to it. But if we could see sin through God's eyes,
it would be quite sobering.
Our instinctive reaction to sin is to handle it the same as any other problem: solve it. When something catches on fire, you douse it with water. When something spOls, you wipe it up. We have countermeasures for everything in life. So it's no surprise that our initial response when confronted with our sin is to counteract it with a corresponding quantity of good. We believe that's how we should reconnect with God. It seems to make sense.