MAR 4Whatever Became of Sin?

For I acknowledge my transgressions, and my sin is always before me. Against You, You only, have I sinned, and done this evil in Your sight. (Ps. 51:3-4a)

Karl Menninger was the famous Christian psychiatrist who wrote the book Whatever Became of Sin? (1973). He was a member of the famous Menninger family of psychiatrists who founded the Menninger Foundation and the Menninger Clinic in Topeka, Kansas. In his book, there was only one thing that he wanted to know: What have we done with "sin"? He went on to say that at one time it was a word of such weight: a robust word, an omnibus word, an awesome word. The word had been taken from language—not just common language, but also from the pulpit. He concluded that we don't even believe in sin anymore. And these are the words of a leading psychiatrist!

The understanding of our whole faith rests in an offended God. Sin is an offense against God, not your neighbor. We don't get to the root of the human problem until we get to the vertical: "Against You and You alone" (v. 4). He did not say, "I have sinned against Uriah or the kingdom" because he is so overwhelmed by the vertical. He says hyperbolically, "You and You alone." If that's wrong, I need to shut this book and get a degree in counseling. If there was or is no sin, there should be no preaching of the cross and the Lord Jesus Christ. This is the ontological question: either David is absolutely right or wrong.

Here you have both the horizontal and vertical aspects. If we're only dealing with the horizontal, it's human to human. But this is not the case; there is something vertical about sin. Sin must be dealt with. How do you deal with your sins? Where do you place them? How do you confess them? Your situation demands an accurate diagnosis.

Lord God, we realize that our sin is not against our spouse, friend, boss, or neighbor. We have sinned against You and You alone. Just as an earthly child who loves his father so much that he's upset when he does something wrong to grieve him, so we are saddened by our sin. Forgive us, Father, and thoroughly deal with our sin. Amen.