Sin is Unloving
In 1 John 4:8, the Bible says, “God is love.” God is agapé. God is altruistic love that does what is best for the one who is loved. Agapé love is intrinsic to all that God is and does. It is behind the greatest gift ever given, Jesus. For God so agapé loved the world that he gave us his one and only son that we might be saved and be eternally reconciled to him. Agapé provides a simple rubric for understanding much sinful behavior.
Most of the time we see sin as a set of disqualifying actions. Do actions disqualify us from being able to go to heaven? Do they disqualify us from being in good standing in church and society? Sexual behavior is one area where this mindset is most obvious. The Bible’s injunctions against sex outside of a marriage between a man and a woman may seem antiquated and unreasonable. What happens if we look at it through the lens of agapé?
Using the lens of agapé, any practice causing harm is wrong. Fornication is sex outside of marriage. Since fornication is harmful, it is wrong. Fornication produces unwanted pregnancies. These pregnancies are often aborted. In many other cases most children that result from them do not grow up in two parent households. Fornication also facilitates sexually transmitted diseases and complicates relationships between unmarried men and women. Adultery has all the problems associated with fornication plus it tears at the heart a fundamental human institution, marriage. Pornography objectifies women robbing them of their humanity. It makes sex selfish instead of communal. Pornography is linked to human trafficking and sexual dysfunction. Homosexual sex is an aberration. If everyone practiced homosexual sex, the human race would end in a generation.
The way we just applied agapé to sexuality we could apply it to the environment. Is pollution harmful or hurtful for the planet? If it is hurtful, then it is wrong according to agapé. What about murder according to agapé? How about stealing according to agapé? You get the point. Much of what the Bible characterizes as sin are actions that when continued hurt. God’s rules were not made to qualify or disqualify us from heaven. He created them for our own good. They come from God’s essential characteristic, love or agapé. Perhaps, we should embrace his rules even when they stop us from doing things we would like to do because they come from his love.