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  • Writer's pictureSarah Sisson Rollandini

My Way or the Highway: A Letter to Sinners

Cars driving in two directions on a 2-lane highway

A Letter to Sinners

My problem is I wanna follow Jesus and slap people, too.

I made eye contact with the lady in the trendy graphic tee at the flea market and raised my chin in solidarity. Perhaps without knowing she had done so, this stylish sister summed up the quandary of every believer in one line. Even as we strive to follow our great redeemer's example, we find ourselves leaping headfirst into sin.

It's such an old-fashioned word: sin.

Judgy. Condemning.

And yet we are--all of us-- sinners. I am a sinner.

Asian woman drawing heart on a mirror in lipstick.

We often forget Jesus' whole purpose for hanging out with us on the planet for 30-plus years. It was not, as our 21st century culture teaches, to make us feel good about ourselves. Nor did he die on a cross to empower us with the short and sweet spirituality of "I am good enough", "I am my own best friend", or "I deserve joy and happiness."

Jesus did not come to earth to make us better people. He came to save us from eternal separation from a holy God. He came to set us free.

Believers and non-believers alike often carry around false notions that following our hearts will bring about our ultimate liberation. Instead, sin's selfishness leads us to replace God's perfect plan with temporary gratification. At worst, we willfully create our own sin gods and, in doing so, forever sever our relationship with our creator.

We laugh about what we consider little offenses--talking smack about our neighbor, flirting with someone who is not our spouse, binge-watching the show that borders on porn--but truthfully, sin is no joke. And the longer we follow the bread crumbs down that slick and shiny road, the less we think about sin's final destination or the price Christ paid to save us from it.

Woman with fancy eye makeup holding a yellow and white snake with red eyes

At the risk of sounding like SNL's church lady, the Ten Commandments (Exodus and Deuteronomy) illuminate how far we (read: I) have strayed.

  1. The Command: No other gods can have priority in our thoughts, words or deeds, including the false gods of money, pleasure, power, fame, or even one's self.

The Sin: Seeking riches, comfort, influence, stardom, self gratification over God's kingdom values of humility and selflessness.

2. The Command: No idols, which always deform the truth about God, who is spirit.

The Sin: Exalting musicians, movie stars, millionaires, and politicians, assigning to them the power, and even glory, that can only rightly be attributed to the one true God of the universe. We make idols of even good things, such as our children or chasing the next item on our bucket list, when we pursue them over our relationship with Jesus.

Woman with road rage

3. The Command: God's name is to be respected and revered because of who he is.

The Sin: Using the names of God and Jesus flippantly and without apology, failing to recognize God's holiness.

4. The Command: Set apart the Sabbath for devotion and worship, to glorify God with our lives.

The Sin: Using Sundays as a day to sleep in, skip church, grill out, watch the game, or catch up on the remainder of our to-do list from Saturday. While we need not lapse into rigid legalism, God set aside a day of rest and worship for himself and commanded us to do the same.

Overwhelmed woman with sticky notes on her face

5. The Command: Honor, respect, and care for one's parents and others in authority, including God-ordained structures, such as the family and government (unless, of course, they order us to do something in contradiction to God’s law. Then, we are commanded to obey God before man, as in Acts 4:19).

The Sin: Disrespecting parents, teachers, supervisors, as well as those in government is the norm. Visit your local grocery store, your child's classroom, or attend a school board meeting to witness this insolence on full display. Lack of submission is ultimately rebellion and insubordination to God. Caring for aging parents has also been outsourced to institutions where the elderly are often abandoned and forgotten.

Pro-choice protester holding my body my chioce sign

6. The Command: Do not murder.

The Sin: Killing--and often celebrating the killing of-- innocent human beings. This includes murdering babies in the womb, as well as the unrestrained acts of violence taking place all over the U.S., where over eighteen thousand people, many of whom live in our cities, were killed in 2023. Since every single person is made in the image of God, murder is not only an attack on another human being, but a crime committed against our creator.

7. The Command: Do not cheat on your spouse or explore sex outside the bond of marriage.

The Sin: Seeking (and having) sex anywhere and with anyone plus flaunting it before an audience, without regard to God's design for marriage nor respect for the holiness of godly union and family. Watching pornography, in which people are exploited and fantasy replaces reality, is also a form of adultery.

Woman removing wedding ring to have an affair

8. The Command: Do not steal.

The Sin: Profiting or gaining dishonestly from another person at their expense and/or without due compensation. Slavery falls into this category as does human trafficking (another form of slavery) and the taxing of people brought about by executive order and not democratic representation. The most revered form of stealing in 2024 is socialism, being pushed across the U.S. by radical movements such as Black Lives Matter and the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion oligarchies present at many K-12 schools and universities. Incidentally, the adherence to socialist ideals is responsible for millions of deaths across the globe since 1900 (See Commandment #6).

LGBTQAI+ flag with ask my pronouns sign

9. The Command: Do not lie.

The Sin: Lying, often in order to make oneself look better or to avoid consequences. God is truth. Therefore, declaring lies as if they are true violates his character. Common lies of our day include the misnomer of reproductive freedom, the use of false pronouns, and the idea that a baby in the womb is "just a clump of cells".

10. The Command: Do not covet/lust after.

The Sin: Comparing our lot to others and seeking to acquire what they have. Social media has made sinners of us all against this commandment and saddled many with a spirit of discontentment. According to Moody Bible Commentary, "These commandments must be kept in one's heart as well as in one's actions. Jesus taught this when he instructed that hate was in effect murder, and lust was in effect adultery. The corruption of sin is in the heart before it is in the actions." Getting rid of the sin must start with replacing entitled thoughts (i.e. I deserve x, y, and z) with grateful ones (Thank you, Lord, for the x, y, and z you've already given me).

Woman with black hair jealous of woman with blonde hair's shopping purchases

Jesus lived by these commandments. And In the New Testament, when asked by one of the Pharisees, "Teacher, what is the greatest commandment in the Law?" Jesus replied with what he called the first and greatest commandment, "to love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind."

The second commandment, to "Love your neighbor like yourself", of course, hinges on the first. Which means that loving others must flow from our love for God and his perfect design, not from a religious buffet of our own creation.

Woman in white t-shirt with black lettering that says My problem is I wanna follow Jesus and slap people too

In case there's any doubt that you and I are sinners, we can purchase this t-shirt on Etsy.

And so, my friends, the bad news is that we are all sinners. Like that lady at the flea market, we wanna love Jesus and slap people (a.k.a. continue in our sin), too. But God's plan for us is better. 1 John 3:9 reminds us that "No one born of God makes a practice of sinning, for God's seed abides in him; and he cannot keep on sinning".

Matthew 3:8 Bible verse

Instead of celebrating our sin--whether it be spending more time on Instagram than in the Psalms, emulating T-Swift over Jesus, or following our depraved sexual desires over God's blueprint--we can choose to do a 180, chasing after our maker who holds for us a life filled with hope and brimming with eternal purpose.

Undoubtedly, we will struggle. Absolutely, we will fail. But let us not be a people who thumb our noses at God by continuing down the path to self destruction. Instead, let's welcome the opportunity to embrace each other, flaws and all, then guide one another back into the arms of our loving heavenly father. He is always waiting to welcome us.

Until next time.

Your hope cheerleader,

Sarah 📣

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Carla Gasser
Jun 12

I am reading through Exodus this year…and this is such a concise, clear, and challenging explanation of the 10 commandments and what they mean in our everyday lives as we seek to follow Jesus. Thank you for this reminder to take our sin seriously and celebrate the freedom that we have in Christ! Amen!

Sarah Sisson Rollandini
Sarah Sisson Rollandini
Jun 14
Replying to

Thank you, Carla! Freedom--woot woot!

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