Criminalizing Sin, Are We Driving It Underground?

27 Dec 2013 by Eugene Tan –


The debate is on, shall we or shall we not (as a society) decriminalize drugs? Lately, certain countries decriminalize certain drugs. The Scandinavians did that years ago. In the US, Colorado and Washington DC is the latest on the list. Uruguay, as a country was next. The detractors of course will fight tooth and nail to oppose such an inconceivable idea, they decry the dangers of opening the gateway to hell. Their rationale is understandable – to legalize drugs is as good as condoning the act of drug abuse and that is a strict no no, furthermore it will encourage more and more people to indulge in the habit with it's easy availability. The same argument is upheld by those who are against the distribution of condoms and needles and the legalizing of alcohol (during the prohibition).

Decrimanalize drugs or..



On the other hand, those who are for..argues that the criminalization of drugs only drives it underground, that which can be sold over the counter for $1.00 is now sold for a $100.00, thereby creating and enriching a network of criminals that run the gamut of couriers, runners, petty traders, dealers, distributors, wholesalers, traffickers and the drug barons. With one stroke of the pen, all the above will be left shaking their legs and lining up on the unemployment line. As a result, crime will decrease. That said, the human toil, the pain and suffering to the end users – having to pay 100 times more – they have to beg, to steal, to borrow and to prostituting themselves – cannot be calculated. Multiply that three to five times by including family members and loved ones who are affected and you will get the idea. In an instance, with legislation, hundreds of thousands if not millions of substance abusers, will be able to lead“normal lives”. They will get their “pharmakeia” over the counter (like so many normal folks). Gone are the guilt and condemnation – with public acceptance, they are now able to lead normal lives.

But one may ask, what about their drug abuse, will it not destroy their health? It surely will, if they over-indulge. Like in everything else, the minute we lose self control..we go downhill. The same way pain killers, sleeping pills, anti biotics, anti-depressants, aspirins and a host of other acceptable drugs that are harmful when over-indulged. There are countless normal folks whose lives were destroyed by prescription drugs. Michael Jackson and Elvis Presley were the tip of an iceberg. Ultimately too much of any drugs are bad for our natural body..whether legal or illegal, the only difference is the acceptance and non-acceptance perceived and determined by others who define/base their perception on what is right and wrong according to the laws set by their government, culture, religion and race.

Known consequences of drug abuse


Laws are necessary, without which there will be anarchy and chaos. But too much of anything is not good. The book of Proverbs says, too much of honey will make you sick. Consequently, like drugs, when we are so into sin consciousness, we inadvertently criminalize sin and we drive it underground. Now, please do not get me wrong, I am in no way advocating the decriminalization of sin or lawlessness, neither am I diluting the seriousness of sin. I am of the opinion that sin is bad, that sin is terrible, that it messes up our lives (I should know, I suffered painful consequences because of sin).

I also know that because of sin, my savior Jesus Christ had to die so that I can continue to live. But having said that, I also know that the harder we hit out at sin, the more sinners will hide their sin as evident in many Evangelical circles and those who rule the Vatican – eventually when sin is full grown, it will explode in our face through Suicide, CBT, Nepotism and Child Abuse.

Jesus died for our sins


Sin per se will not drive anyone to suicide but persecution from the body of Christ can.. like a pit bull that latch on to our bone and flesh, the church police will not let anyone who sin go scot free, unwittingly violating the law of double jeopardy. The Son of Man had already been punished for our sin, why punished the sinner again?
Obviously what we are preaching and teaching is not getting through to the very people we want to reach; the suicide, divorce and child abuse rates among believers is no different from the unbelieving world. How can those who are are blind to their own self righteousness lead those with complicated behavior problems and serious psychological issues to safety?


God is the judge, not us.

Repairing the heart is a simple procedure but to get to the heart, surgeons have to rip open the chest, put the lungs and valves on machines, shut down the brain and a host of other complicated applications before they can actually reach the heart. My question is, when we sin, why must we follow the same complicated, invasive and painful methods of an open heart surgery just so that we can get healing when all we need do is simply believing that Jesus can forgive and will forgive? Why must we go through a series of confessions or years of counseling and supervision for misconduct?

A pastor I knew wakes up each morning at 5am and spent one hour confessing his sins before he can start the day. Another pastor have to go through three years of supervision before he can be restored. No wonder we dare not confess our sins to each other, who dares when we are going to be crucified for it? If the Apostle Peter (after he denied Christ) had to go through such a complicated process there would not be any churches today!
By default, we created a culture of hiding our sins – the people in the world can see it and they mock us as hypocrites. They despise us not because we are no different than them but because we think we are better than them. They can smell our misdemeanor yet we ourselves cannot scent the obnoxious odor of our holier-than-thou attitude.

The Parable of the Prodigal Son


There are many elder-brother type (parable of the prodigal son) in the body of Christ who sulk and pouted when the sinner brother returns. They won't allow the sinner to get off the hook so easily, on the human level I can understand their frustration; after all they had worked so hard for their salvation. Like the parable of the workers who came in early for work, they cannot help but complain about their colleagues who came in late yet received the same wages.
If only they could, think about how non-believers will respond when they see Christians loving one another and supporting each other when we fall short – they might actually want to go to church, but as things were, they are not going to queue outside the church for the time being for sure, I mean, would you or anyone want to join a club or any organization where you will be easily kick out for your misbehavior? Might as well not join in the first place, right?

Jesus endeared himself to sinners, not the Pharisees and the self-righteous


The trouble with so many believers is that in our mistaken believe to protect the honor of our God's name we are so quick on the draw, so quick to correct the misbehavior of those around us. I know of someone who forcibly removes the idols from its altar from his parents house, who also forcibly switches off the MTV channel his nieces were watching (while visiting his aunt) because MTV is from the devil. I do not think such a spirit is going to win many into the kingdom of God, incredulously such folks can justify their behavior by claiming being persecuted for righteousness sake.

Another acquaintance "literally" holds a placard above her head proclaiming "I don't smoke, I don't drink, I don't fornicate, lie or cheat" well, you guess it, she is not going to win friends and influence people for sure. Jesus endeared himself to sinners but not the Pharisees and the self-righteous.
The church these days have become irrelevant, many nice big buildings but not many people attending – not because folks are rejecting a God who loves them so much but…they are keeping their distance from a god whom they fear, a fear that they are not good enough for His Holiness, for they cannot live up to his expectations.


Many of those struggling with sin and emptiness are calling for help, not more judgement.


We have created a culture of fear among believers and unbelievers alike and the devil can smell it and is riding and capitalizing on it with glee. In the movie "The Hobbit", the evil Azog the Defiler, while pursuing the good guys declare "I Can Smell Their Fear". Please please brothers and sisters, let us not inadvertently play into the devil's hand, let us not be the accuser of the brethren..don't make it any harder for your fellow believers, whatever they are struggling with it is already tough as it is, let us not punish them further..nobody enjoys a divorce and especially when kids are involved, we don't have to rub it in anymore.

Nobody enjoys being an alcoholic, a drug addict, a homosexual, a sex offender or for that matter a man or woman who is unfaithful to each other. We don't have to be tools used by God to make these people come to their senses, the consequences of the circumstances itself will make them learn as in the case of the prodigal son. No need to rub it in anymore. In other words, no need to criminalize sin anymore, the perpetrator already criminalize himself (through self guilt and condemnation) as evidence by the recent suicide of many church leaders and their loved ones.


The Risen Christ has triumphed over sin and is the answer.

My brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in any kind of wrong doing, those of you who are spiritually-mature should set them right; but you must do it in a gentle way. And keep an eye on yourselves, so that you will not be tempted too. Help to carry one another‘s burdens, and in this way you will obey the law of Christ. (Gal 6:1-2) GNV

Like the drug barons, let us put the devil (the accuser of the brethren) out of business. When we stop criminalizing sin and focus instead on the sweet aroma of our risen Christ, sin will have no dominion over us. Slowly but surely, the things of this world will turn strangely dim. Amen.


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  1. How inspirational to read an article about the grace of God and not just about what is right or wrong(law). An age old problem of man wanting to be god. We judge and condem others so easily convieniently using the scriptures and interpreting it the way we seem fit. Lets be a little more gracious not forgetting the example of Jesus while he was on earth, how he live and taught the scriptures and follow His example as Christians are followers of Christ, the author and finisher of our faith.

  2. Thanks Eugene for another well writte and logical approach to be a worthy Christian.Fyi when I first joined tNCC, I asked the question about possibility of being expelled and excommunicated for not only sinful behaviour but also if I show disagreement with the Church and its Elders on any issue.I was assured that there is no such practice in tNCC.

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