Is Sin a Result of Suffering?

This coming Sunday we will hear about the condition of the man born blind.  Some would believe that this blindness resulted from his own sins or the sins of his parents.  Even today, people come to me who believe that God punishes them with suffering because of their sins.  As a corollary, many believe that they are doing well because they are living a good life.

Yet, Jesus suffered a horrible, agonizing, and humiliating death.  His ministry came to a disastrous end (apparently).  Would we say that this is the result of his own sins?

Then there are the other figures in scripture: Job, Jeremiah, Joseph, and almost all of the prophets suffered greatly at the hands of evil people and natural calamities.  But these stories make clear that they suffered not as a result of their sins.

Jesus sets the record straight.  God does not cause the existential crisis of suffering.  He does not orchestrate our suffering as a result of our sins.  But he works through it.  Jesus makes evident through a visible miracle the infinite and invisible power of his divinity when he healed the blind man.  He also reveals his plans to heal all of us in a final way.  Then, through the worst evil that ever occurred in the history of creation, the killing of the Word made Flesh, Jesus revealed who God really is, in his love, patience, and mercy.

Through this, God cured our far deeper blindness.  This is a blindness that outlasts even the darkness that overshadows us at our death-the blindness of sin and not knowing the God who creates us and loves us.

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