Sickness or Sin

Sickness or Sin?

Richard Hollerman

This week we noticed the headlines that stated that Ariel Castro of Cleveland, Ohio was sentenced to life in prison, “plus 1,000 years.” Castro is the 53-year-old former school bus driver who abducted the three teenage girls and locked them in his house for eleven years. During this time, he raped and beat these young kidnapped captives.

When the girls finally were able to escape, the man was apprehended by the authorities and soon faced a judge. He admitted to the charge of hundreds of cases of rape, brutality, and kidnapping. One of the released girls stated, “You took 11 years of my life away and I have got it back. I spent 11 years in hell. Now your hell is just beginning.” In his final statement to the court, Castro stated, “These people are trying to paint me as a monster, I’m not a monster. I’m sick.”

But Castro was more than sick. He was a blatant sinner. The news report states: “The sentence was a foregone conclusion after Castro pleaded guilty last week to 937 counts, including aggravated murder, kidnapping, rape and assault. A deal struck with prosecutors spared him from a possible death sentence for beating and starving Knight [one of the girls] until she miscarried”
(star-telegram. com/2013/08 /01/5046845/sentencing-set -in-cleveland- kidnap.html#storylink=cpy).

We’ve all heard people try to escape blame by blaming someone else. Or they divert attention from their sin by blaming society. Some people blame their father or mother or the school system.  Somehow, through Freudian influence, people seem to be eager to blame someone other than themselves for their wrongs.

A child says, “I hit my sister because she was not nice and took my toy truck!” Parents hear all kinds of excuses for their children’s misdeeds.

A speeder is stopped by the State Police and explains, “I didn’t know that I was speeding!” Yet he could have known—for the speed limit was plainly displayed.

A patient talks to his doctor who has diagnosed a serious lung condition. “I didn’t know that smoking would be harmful to my health! My grandfather never had this problem!” But for decades virtually everyone knows that using tobacco is harmful to one’s health. Newspapers, TV, radio, and signs warn of the hazards of smoking.

People don’t like to admit failures, faults, or sins. They would rather pass the blame to someone else. Or they may make an excuse that would minimize their failure and fault. People pridefully refuse to plainly admit their errors—and their sins. They just don’t want to admit their guilt plainly and honestly.

Adam blamed Eve for his sin—and even blamed God for giving Eve to him (Genesis 3:12)! Eve, in turn, blamed Satan, the serpent (3:13). While it is true that Satan was the instigator, still Eve willingly succumbed to the devil’s influence. She was guilty. Ever since that time, people—including you and me—have been making excuses for our sin. Let’s plainly admit it—we are sinners (Romans 3:23).

So Castro said, “These people are trying to paint me as a monster, I’m not a monster. I’m sick.” This points up the false but common explanation that psychiatry gives for sin. People are not sinners—they are just sick!  Homosexuals refuse to admit the guilt of their perverse sexual immorality. They were “born this way”—and this takes away blame.  The drunkard explains away his drunkenness by saying that he is merely an “alcoholic” and he was born with this tendency. He is just “sick” and not a sinner!  The drug addict can do the same—just to remove the guilt of his behavior. The sexually immoral simply have a “sexual addition” so he really isn’t guilty for his promiscuity and adultery.  The criminal just has “bad genes” and that is why he robbed a bank, burglarized a house, or killed a man. He is just “sick” so don’t blame him!

If someone is sick, let’s help him to be healed. Let’s make sure he is finding medical treatment for anything that needs to be corrected. But a heart problem or a soul problem is something different. The person is not sick; the person is sinful. And sin is treated with such Biblical principles as conviction, remorse, confession, seeking forgiveness, and restitution. God’s Word says: “He who conceals his transgressions will not prosper, but he who confesses and forsakes them will find compassion” (Proverbs 28:13).

Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners (1 Timothy 1:15). He suffered for us by dying for our sins (1 Corinthians 15:3; Romans 5:6-11). Only when we come to Him for full forgiveness can we find the solution to our sin problem.

Ariel Castro may seek to escape blame by saying, “These people are trying to paint me as a monster, I’m not a monster. I’m sick.” No, Ariel, you are not sick. You are a sinner and Jesus Christ is your only hope!



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