What GM Teaches Us About Sin

General Motors Letter

General Motors filed for bankruptcy protection on June 1, 2009. Shortly thereafter we received a letter from GM sent to all owners of GM products. Here is the key line:

“As you may know, GM is using an expedited, court-supervised process to accelerate the reinvention of our company.”

That’s curious, I thought they filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. Silly me, guess I misunderstood. This isn’t so bad. I mean bankruptcy sounds awful but this is just an “expedited, court-supervised process.” In fact, the letter says they want to “accelerate the reinvention of our company.” I feel much better now. This is actually a good thing! Whew!

Changing the words do not change the facts

All joking aside, General Motors is in bankruptcy protection as a last ditch effort to save the company from total financial ruin. Regardless of the reasons they were broke and would soon be unable to pay their bills. The creditors were at the gate and GM was in serious trouble. While the words in their letter were true they also misrepresented the severity of their condition. Healthy businesses do not file for bankruptcy. Changing the words do not change the facts.

To be truthful, General Motors is not the only one’s to play fast with terminology. We do it all the time.

Sin is Sin

To listen to some preachers you would think the three letter word SIN is worse that any four letter expletive they have ever heard. They simple will not use the word. “It’s so negative,” they reason. “It might turn someone off.” To bad no one told the Holy Spirit. My translation of the Bible (ESV) uses the word 762 times. Here’s something interesting.

Per 1,000 words, “sin” is used more in the book of 1 John than anywhere else and almost twice as much as the second place book! The Gospel of John uses the word more than any of the other Gospels. This is so remarkable because John is called the Apostle of Love!

Maybe we should see a link between sin and love? Maybe, if we really love people, we should be talking more about sin and less about those cute little terms we have for sin, like “mistake” or “misstep.” Perhaps instead of talking about a “way of life” or an “alternative lifestyle” we should simple say “sin.”

Sin Separates from God

We must understand that we are separated from God by sin. It began in Eden (Genesis 3) and continues today because each and everyone of us sins (Romans 3:23; 1 John 1:8). That great old prophet, Isaiah wrote

“…but your iniquities have made a separation
between you and your God,
and your sins have hidden his face from you
so that he does not hear.” (Isaiah 59:2)

It is because sin separates us from God that we cannot spend eternity with him and that is very serious. It is sin that is responsible for the all the death and all the suffering that you see around you. Sin is serious business.

Taking Sin Seriously

Taking sin seriously is vital. Until we accept the horror of sin we will never seek the freedom that comes only through faith and obedience to Christ Jesus.

Let’s resolve to stop using nice words to describe bad things. Call it what it is and maybe we will begin to respond appropriately. Are you listening GM?

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