“Augustine uses three analogies to describe sin: an inherited disease passed down from generation to generation, a power to which we are enslaved and a judgment pronounced for breaking a law. You and I are bent toward making bad choices that damage ourselves, our earth and our relationships with one another. Sin is the thoughts, words and actions that break things. We break ourselves, our loved ones, complete strangers and the earth with regularity. But the ultimate consequence of our tendency toward wrong according to the bible, is the shattering of our union with God” (p. 50, The New Friars, Bessenecker).
Sin. As the breaking of things. Of people, of communities, of the earth.
Brokenness. This definition of sin cited and explained by Bessenecker brings together conservatives and liberals. The purpose of God’s law (and sometimes man’s as well) is wholeness – prevention of brokenness. This is why the law is fulfilled in love, because love seeks to prevent and heal brokenness. Healing brokenness both follows the law (whether the New Testament law of love or the spirit of the Old Testament Law), satisfying religious conservatives, and in time results in a better social condition, answering the cries of religious liberals.
This world is broken. And we are the ones who are breaking it. What will we do about it?