By: Ian Stipe
Recently I was reading through this verse in 2 Corinthians 5:14-15, where Paul writes:
“For the love of Christ controls us, because we have concluded this: that one has died for all, therefore all have died; and he died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised.”
I have been thinking a lot lately about the phrase “those who live might no longer live for themselves,” and about how sin affects us and our relationships. Sin causes all of us to be antisocial and live for ourselves. I want to show you three ways in which sin causes us to be antisocial.
Sin shrinks our world
First, sin shrinks our world. The world is massive and the stuff that takes place in it is bigger than all of us. But when sin has its way, it shrinks our lives to the narrow confines of our little self-defined world.
Sin turns us in on ourselves. It causes us to shrink our focus, motivation, and concern to the size of our own wants, needs, and feelings. Sin causes all of us to be way too self-absorbed and self-important. Sin causes us to be offended way too easily by offenses against us and way too concerned about what directly affects us. This is because sin is antisocial.
Sin redirects our love
Sin redirects our love from giving and receiving to receiving only. We really don’t have time to love our spouse, neighbor, coworker, in the purest sense of what that means, because we are too busy loving ourselves. What we truly want is for them to love us just as much as we love ourselves. If they are willing to do this, we believe we will have a wonderful relationship. But all this redirecting of our love leads to is a claustrophobic kingdom of one.
Sin dehumanizes the people around us
Sin dehumanizes the people around us. Because sin is antisocial the people around us are no longer objects of our willing affection, so they are no longer people we find joy in loving. Rather, they get reduced to one of two things: they are either vehicles to help us get what we want or obstacles in the way of what we want. When they meet your demands of your wants, needs, and feelings, you treat them with affection. When they become an obstacle in the way of your wants, needs and feelings, you can’t help but show your disappointment, impatience, and irritation.
Rather than shrinking our world, redirecting our love, or dehumanizing the people around us, the correct response is seen in verse 14 and the first half of 15 where Jesus set the example for love. For His love expanded beyond himself to the world around Him. His love was redirected from Himself to you and I. His love humanized you and I from being an object to a person, moving us from death to life. The next time you sin, be aware of sin’s antisocial nature and follow Jesus’ example.