Church and the Seen Sin and Unseen Sin

SIN, whether seen or unseen, is generally understood and accepted as the same thing, particularly by Christians, whose faith is built on redemption from the inevitable doom of sin. It has direct relevance to the Christian faith compared to the other faiths where, what we otherwise consider to be an act of sin is propagated as a part of their faiths.
Going by the biblical interpretation, first, sin is transgression; to transgress means “to step across” or “to go beyond a set boundary or limit”. Adam is an old example. Act of transgression in certain game invites yellow card or at worst red card. The other interpretation is “to miss the mark”. Our going to one direction but straying off the course and not continuing in the direction we intended to go, with the result that we don’t reach the goal we intended. We miss. In exam when we miss the mark, we don’t pass. The third interpretation may be inferred from 1 John 3:4 “Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law; for sin is the transgression of the law”. Whoever commits sin also commits lawlessness, and sin is lawlessness. That is, sin also has to do with what we don’t do with the law of the land. Additional interpretations of sin may be clubbed together: “Every wrong action is sin”; “Any kind of wrong doing is sin; “All iniquity is sin”. Anything opposite to goodness is iniquity. These meanings go beyond just physical deeds and action and cross over into “attitudes” and “motives” for our action and “what goes on in our minds”. They involve what we think. Thus, any wrong attitude, motive or thought is sin. But what is discussed in this article is specifically on the actual deeds and action part of sin.    
In our secular context interpretation of sin is more or less restricted to the act of crime alone. But even then what is regarded as crime by law (or sin by us) such as Sati or Fatwa or Polygamy is divinely propagated with irrepressible passion by some faiths. That is, in secular context, not every crime is regarded a sin. Even within Christian faith sin has loosely become a subject matter to be interpreted with certain crime committed. Literally speaking, there may be a superficial difference between offense and crime. While both mean the same thing, offense maybe regarded an act of lesser crime whereas criminal offense maybe an act in violation of the law of the land, punishable by law. In rather similar manner a pseudo religious concept appears to be emerging amongst the Christian community, wherein seen is considered sin and unseen as less sin or not sin; as if, seen sin is punishable whereas unseen sin is not. This applies equally both to the individual as Christian and the Church as religious institution. In the eyes of God there is no unseen, every sin is seen and we are given the ability to see exactly what God sees, through the Bible. But as a social animal we prefer to see things through our naked eyes and judge according to the needs of our social existence. If we are to translate sin to our temporal context, it is both the offense and the crime together.
Unfortunately, the church appears largely to have deviated from the gospel on certain issues like spiritual and sin, to a more secular issue like compatible and comfortable institutional development. And to keep going the church needs to be rich, the members rich and the collection high no matter how and where the wealth comes from. This kind of ministry is getting institutionalized under the ever expanding church establishment and the uncritical members, if not all, are getting accustomed to it as a manifestation of blessing. The unhealthy part is the unnatural inhibition of the elite members who fail or are reluctant to question the danger of a creepy system developing into a composite culture in the church. Recently a politician was allowed to misuse the church pulpit to campaign for his next election, probably because of his generous contribution. Doubtlessly, the church will grow and expand its tent far and wide and so will its members here and there but the doctrinal issue of the religion will remain ever the same. Has not the Bible taught us that nothing can be added to or deleted from the words given us? Our unlimited desire for advancement, God forbid should not mislead us to disseminate a semi-cult culture where faith is sacrificed at the altar of human ego.  
A true church professes what is the gospel truth to its members and does not distort or deviate, that truth to the like or dislike of sectional listeners, no matter who they may be. Not knowing the truth that the truth will make us free is a problem, but not telling the truth when the truth has to be told is more excruciating. Church is the only platform where truth, nothing but the truth is testified and the sanctity of the pulpit can not be de-sanctified under any circumstances. But the bitter truth is that the church has failed to indoctrinate the biblical concept of sin, as it truly is, into the minds and hearts of its members. Surprisingly, sin is falsely identified and more often than not, sought as a blessing. Incidentally more than is required has been stressed on the seen sin, both in preaching and in implementing church ordinances by way of excommunicating sinned members for indefinite period. It is disappointing that the church (not the Bible) has seemingly redefined sin to the seen part only, such as unholy marriage, divorce, alcohol-drug abuse, gambling, murder, not giving tithes & offerings, non-attendance in church programs etc. Whereas excommunication is an extreme form of religious punishment, the reason leading to this act may also be partly individual, partly social and even partly church. In most cases the causal factor is ignored and not properly attended in good time. For those who repent and come back to the fold of Christian community they are the most blessed but for those who did not they are lost forever and that for a problem which may not be so serious. Many a time we are comfortable with the remaining 99 sheep that we forget to go back and look for the only lost sheep.  
Whereas the church has over emphasized the seen part of sin, in word and in action, it has not considered the unseen part of sin with seriousness or because the unseen is viewed a lesser sin or not sin at all. I believe if there are two kinds of sin they differ only in degree and considering the gravity of public resentment, the unseen sin may be more severe than the other. For clarity of the point here, the common characteristics of seen sin may involve, more or less an individual but the common characteristics of unseen sin may involve, more or less a mass of individuals.  In other words certain sin may be committed individually without harming others but certain sin may be committed while also harming others. For instance can a member commit a sin say, corruption or immorality without harming the lives of others, who could be none other than a member sitting on the same bench with him in the church? Needless to add more to the truth corruption has become the worst devastating forces in society and immorality the ‘tsunami’ of family breakdown. Should the church then remain silent or cling to the stand that the unseen sin (although known) namely; extra-marital relationship, polygamy, abortion, corruption, misappropriation, bribery, negligence in office, manipulation and intimidation, extortion etc. are non-biblical and not to be discussed by the church? Is it the fear that because many of the active members possibly might be involved with one or more of these unseen sins, discussion of such intricate subject matter by the church may alienate the more liberal and generous members? Or is the kind of collection which comes, as long as it comes handsomely to the church treasury, miraculously gets sanctified and does not merit debate? It may sound ironical but a major portion of the church fund may be coming f rom the members and sources mentioned above but since the church, presumably require financial force to catch up with the non-stopping developmental race in a competitive world, we may be equally guilty of silently allowing the expediency of physical advancement in overriding the morality of our society and the spirituality of our religion. So long as the unseen part is not truthfully defined ‘sin’, as it is in the Bible the church will never succeed in purging the society from the evils of the ever increasing immorality and corruption, nor will the church members ever be freed from this bondage.
Finally, let us not forget about honesty, especially as a Christian living in a moral tumbling society where, honesty is startlingly construed a misfortune and dishonesty, a blessing. For those who live through honesty, their simplicity is viewed as “unblessed” and for those who live through dishonesty, their multiplicity is viewed as “blessed”. Certainly not every, what is called unblessed is because of sin as not every so-called blessed because of sinless. But sadly, this kind of attitude is being reflected openly even by the church while dealing with the members who variably come from different background. Whatever opinion the church or the members may hold, the truth will remain that a man who live an honest life lives a less-sin life while a dishonest man lives a more-sin life, whether seen or unseen.

Vaprümu Demo, Kohima