Sin is secondary to community within the Christian life in the same way that fights and hurt feelings in a relationship are secondary to a lack of trust. In any relationship, specific words and actions are not nearly the most determinantal factors in whether that relationship is built or broken. If your assumption about everything the other person says and about how they treat you is that they love you and are trying their best, then the exact same actions will feel entirely different than if you assume that they’re being mean or condescending or don’t actually care about you. To build trust, it is not sufficient to stop saying or doing particular things; it is necessary to develop the emotional intimacy by which you once again see the positive intent behind the actions of an imperfect person.
Often we treat sin as a first order concept; we act as if we get the list right of what counts as sinful words and deeds, then all we have to do is stop doing and saying those things. And, we assume, if we can take that step then Godly community is sure to follow. But, if we first understand the kind of community that sin breaks and the kind of love that God has for us, then no word or action will have the same reality in our lives as it would without the experience of love and community. What makes all the difference is not that we define sin right and stop sinning (both of which would be impossible anyway) but that we are perfected in love in such a way that no word or action overcomes our intimacy with God and one another.
2 thoughts on “Sin and Trust”