The Sin That Punishes

“Before we dismiss the idea of sin as meaningless to our age, we should try to discover its essential character.”

In his December 25, 1966 radio sermon, Rabbi Olan spoke about sin and punishment. Both concepts are part of Jewish and Christian theology and liturgy. However, many “modern” people have a difficult time relating to the “primitive” image of God as a judge who keeps a list of all our wrongs and punishes accordingly. After all, we have human authorities who punish crimes- the “big sins” like murder and theft. And those smaller sins, well- no one’s perfect. We can dismiss those. Or can we?

“Some of the damage we do by neglect and indifference is far more devastating than the crimes for which the laws punish us. They are sins before men and before God.”

According to Rabbi Olan, “Sin is its own punishment. It overtakes you, it finds you out.” Sin produces guilt. Guilt grows and plagues us until something is done to bring relief. What can religion do to help people free themselves from the sin that punishes? Read on or listen in to learn about the Biblical tradition’s three-step approach to dealing with sin and its consequences. Then, once you know what to do, give it a try! May you find peace of mind and contribute to the healing of the world as you do so.

Follow this link to read the sermon text.
Follow this link to listen to the audio recording.
Follow this link to watch the scrolling-text video.

*Written by Tim Binkley*