I had a debate with a friend about sin awhile back. The question was if we don't know we are sinning, then is it really sin.
I believed that sin is sin. We are sinners before we knew we were sinners and not knowing doesn't mean innocence, it just means ignorance or blindness.
Now on why I disagree that a man who doesn't know he is wrong is evil or completely rotten. A man with good intentions and a kind heart can be filled with sin.
Pretend there is a man, we'll name him Steve. Steve has a wife, Amy and two kids, Ralph and Andy.
Steve loved both boys but always felt more connected to Andy. Only 4 and Andy brought energy, joy and exploding life to any situation. He drove his mom crazy, he was sneaky and willful, matching to the beat of his own drum. Steve would laugh at his sons misadventures, smiling as he consoled his wife. Andy had a mind of his own and a heart for adventure. Yes, Andy kept Amy busy always causing her to second guess double check and run. Amy preferred Ralph's quiet artistic side, he still loved to snuggle with her and they would spend houts side by side doing art projects. The two boys couldn't be more different even though they were twins.
Steve and Amy worked Monday through Friday, so used the weekends for family time and chores. Steve and his amazing family lived in a beautiful home with an incredible backyard. Steve wanted privacy so he built an 8 foot privacy fence.
One day after a family trip to the zoo, while Ralph and Andy were napping Steve decided to work on fixing up the front yard. He was tearing out a garden with a rock border and putting in something more streamline.
Steve was going to use the rocks from the front yard for a project in the back. He decided he would toss the boulders over the fence. He told his wife to let him know if she was going to be in the backyard and not let the kids play out there.
Amy went to work on inside chores, laundry, food prep, cleaning… all those awful dreaded chores that were best to complete while Ralph and Andy were napping. Steve put some headphones on and went to work on his task. Steve loved working in the sun, digging up and tossing the heavy quartz over the fence and was at peace with the world.
Amy finally finished scrubbing the bathroom and checked on the boys before heading to the basement so she could change the laundry. She remembers thinking they looked like little angels peacefully sleeping in their beds.
Amy had been fooled. Although Ralph was dreaming about riding the camels at the zoo; Andy had closed his eyes when he heard his mom coming. As soon as Andy heard the basement door close, he knew it was now or never. He would make his escape. Andy loved to play outside, loved searching for bugs and hated nap time; so, he tip toed down the stairs and quietly opened the backyard and was instantly attracted to the cla-plunk sound coming from over by the fence. Andy did what comes naturally to any four year old. He ran to check out the sound.
Steve had been working for about an hour at this point, sweat dripped down his face soaking his hair and shirt. Digging out an exceptionally large stone, Steve admired how the light bounced of the beautiful white quartz. Feeling the sharp edges he understood why Native Americans used this type of stone as a weapon. The blood in his head pounded to beat of the song coming from his head phones as he put extra umph into getting the breath taking stone over the fence. As Steve turned, to get the next stone, a horrible screaming sound broke through his noise cancelling headphones.
The pitch was horrific, not quite human, making Steve stomach do sickening flip-flops. Instinctively l, Steve ran to the gate, dreading what he would see on the other side. His brain could not place the gut wrenching sounds, growing weaker by the second. Time began to move in slow motion and Steve knew his life would never be the same.
On the other side of the fence, Steve stared unable to register the body of his youngest son. It was wearing Andy's shoes and hand was grasping Andy's bug catcher. The body looked like Andy's body but the head wasn't quite right. No, the head wasn't right at all, it was the wrong color, the wrong shape and the gurgling sound didn't even sound human.
Steve stared at the mess that used to be his son and remembered feeling the heavy sharp quartz in his hands, moments before. The quartz was no longer beautiful but a horrific nightmare, covered in a surreal mixture of brains and blood. Steve didn't realize it but he was violently sobbing. It was Steve's heart wrenching sobs that brought Amy running from the house.
Amy could not comprehend the mess on her backyard or the sight of her emotionally wracked husband. She had never seen Steve cry, not once in the 10years she had known him, what could be so terrible wrong to cause this scene. Slowly, slowly it dawned on her. Slowly her brain allowed her to put the pieces of the distorted puzzle in front of her together. As she figured it out, she a scream escaped her lips, a scream so loud, shrill and emotional that summoned the neighbors into the private oasis of the backyard.
911 was called, police came out and questioned the family for hours. Reckless manslaughter is what Steve was getting charged with.
He just kept repeating, "I didn't know he was there. I didn't know." But as Steve picked up the boulder and threw it over the 8 ft privacy fence, Andy was was there standing on the other side curiously looking up. Andy didn't know sneaking out of the house would end his life but he would never catch bugs again. Amy didn't know Andy would sneak out, maybe she should have he'd done it a 100 times before, but the laundry needed to be done. Steve was heart broken, his heart split in two. He would never have hurt his son but the rock he threw killed his Andy. An 8 ft fence blocked his view but he was still responsible for his actions.
We sin all the time before you know it's sin it's not malice or willful. Before you understand what sin is and the result of causes disruption and toil and hardship.
I have a hard time saying the heart is rotten but definitely causing toil and harm even when they think they are doing good.