by Philip Yancey March 7, 2014 On Faith faithstreet.com
I have a resistance to the word sin. It has a slithery, reptilian sound to it, and for me the word summons up memories from my past, when heavy-breathing Southern revivalists would drawl the word in a two-syllable fury. “See-yun,” they would shout, and raise their fists against the devil’s agent that crouched inside us.
As a child, I trembled when I heard about sin. My concept of God was forming as I listened to the angry preachers. I did not think of God as Father, for my own father had died just after my first birthday and I had no experience to draw on. God more resembled a policeman, or a scowling teacher eager to catch me in some wrongdoing. The great Enforcer would bring down swift and terrible punishment on all who misbehaved. Church members cruelly fanned those fears when they told me that my earthly father, now in heaven, was looking down day and night to spy out my hidden sins.
Although almost every sermon in my childhood church centered on sin, the word has vanished in the years since then.