The Wages of Sin is Disorganization

Recently the Barna Group presented research on Christian Women today based on telephone surveys with 603 women who are ages 18 or older who describe themselves as Christians and have attended a Christian church service within the past six months (excluding holiday services or special events).

Part three of the four-part presentation focuses on our emotional and spiritual check up. After reading the results, I have a hard time believing the women who answered the questions were being entirely honest with themselves and/or the surveyor. Either that, or we really have a problem with our understanding of sin and grace.

Here’s what the research had to say about women’s view on their sin:

Churches have long taught the seven deadly sins or modern interpretations of them: lust, gluttony, greed, sloth, wrath, envy and pride. For women, these traditional sins do not seem to be a problem; they claim instead much more “modern” struggles. In fact, when asked what they struggle with, women most often point to disorganization (50%) and inefficiency (42%).

As for the traditional sins, women are least likely to admit to lust (8%). And, against common stereotypes, women also say they rarely battle jealousy or envy—less than one in eight women (13%) admit to feeling envious often or sometimes. When it comes to other negative behaviors and attitudes, about one third (36%) admit to feeling anger, one quarter say they struggle with selfishness (25%), one in five say they are prone to excessive arguing (19%) and just over one-sixth (16%) say they can be arrogant.

Really? Our biggest struggle is disorganization and inefficiency?

The next section of the research states our biggest disappointments are relationship based. With the exception of number one being the loss of a loved one {which is out of our control} the rest of the research points to trouble with family and/or children. How does our disorganization and inefficiency effect our relationships most? While so many of our disappointments are the result of being sinned against, how much responsibility do/should we take for our part in the break down of our relationships. Of course I’m not talking about issues of abuse, etc. but when people fail us, or we fail others do we have a correct view of our own sinful nature?

Do we resort to what we “did” or what we have to “do” to fix or make it better so much that we have lost sight of the grace given to us by Jesus that we are to live in, live through and pass on to others?

This fall, I’m going to teach a MOPS group on being authentic with God, ourselves and others, followed by a retreat based on Psalm 51 and Davids renewal after his fall with Bathsheba. After that, I’ll be teaching a class on being a woman in the 21st century. So to say much of my studying has been on God’s grace, who and what He’s called us to and the impediments and road blocks {often our sin} that holds us back is an understatement.

The results of Barna’s research is a bit concerning because in order to fully understand the nature of God and press into His calling on our lives, we have to be honest not only with ourselves but also with Him. To fully embrace, understand and enjoy grace…we have to understand and come to terms with sin… the very reason why grace is so freaking amazing.

I know women struggle with feeling “safe” in many of their relationships but do we also struggle with feeling “safe” with God?

David begged God:

Search me, O God, and know my heart!
Try me and know my thoughts!
And see if there be any grievous way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting!

There is a deep work of searching, uprooting and cleansing David desires in Psalm 139 and God will do just that. There is nothing God doesn’t see or know even in the deepest recesses of our hearts. The best part is, none of that effects His view of us or His love for us. Those of us who have surrendered our lives to Jesus and received the grace of His salvation are seen as redeemed and set free despite the sin that finds its way into our lives. Our actions don’t effect God’s affection for us in the slightest.

Our unresolved actions, our incorrect view of them, our unwillingness to face them does impact our ability to enjoy living in the grace, peace and freedom God has for us. So if our greatest sin is inefficiency, perhaps we are doing too much or not what we are called to or we are simply working too hard to make things right and we need to just stop and ask God to search our hearts to see what the real problem is.

That problem… has already been paid for. The work was taken care of in the most efficient manner at Calvary when our Savior cried out

it. is. finished.

Perhaps the disorganization we are plagued by can be reordered correctly if we turn back to the pages of Scripture and really contemplate on the truth found in those words rather than what we think others expect of us.

What do you think about Barna’s research?

Do you relate to inefficiency and disorganization being your greatest struggle?

{Post Script} Let me be clear that I am a big fan of Barna Research group and am thankful for their work and insight into our culture and how it measures against our faith.  This post is not a criticism of their work but rather questioning the results of the survey based on the answers of those surveyed. BR did their best, as always.