Discipleship Manual – A Fisherman’s Definition of Sin by Pastor Don Moore, and some answers to questions

Wednesday, July 12, 2006
I have offered people a chance to ask three questions for a bit of a change of pace. If  you have a question or questions here is the link: questions I am just doing one question at a time and in the order received.HeatherJohn also known as the  Midnight bard (6/22/13 Midnight bard’s Xanga site has been closed down) asked the following:

What is the most difficult time you have ever faced in your life?

What is the happiest time of your life?

Have you ever kept a secret from your loved ones? (You don’t have to answer that one, of course.)

I think that the most difficult time in my life was the point when I felt there was absolutely no hope. I was 8 years old, already abused by my parents through alcoholism, beatings, lack of self-esteem, verbal abuse, and fear for my life (they had tried to kill me three times). I woke up in the middle of the night with my father breathing on me. He told me that I was stupid, ugly, no one would ever want to marry me so he was going to take on my sexual education so at least I could get a man by sex. This began a long cycle of sexual abuse. During this time I decided that God didn’t care. I had prayed three prayers, that God would make my father love me and stop, that God would kill my father, that God would kill me. No answer to any of them, the only one I am glad that God didn’t answer at that time was the second one. I was also told that he would kill me if I told anyone, including my mom (also an alcoholic who seemed to provoke my father). I remember sleeping with my hand outside the bed because it was covered in gook but I was afraid to get up. The next morning, after he went to work, I got up and cleaned myself up the best I could. The first words out of my mom’s mouth was, “I heard him in your room last night, tell me what he did.” She wrote it down in notebooks, filling up at least two of them over the space of years. I grew up hating that question, and sleep ceased to be safe because I never knew when he would come into my room. My mom never missed a time of asking me what he did.
I gave up on God, gave up on hope, gave up on me, and stockpiled a can of Draino in case things got too bad (when I got older the Draino was replaced by the anti-depressant drugs and sleeping pills therapists prescribed that I never took the way they intended). It put a wedge in anything seemingly normal in my life. I had a hidden life. I also felt like spoiled goods (and it wasn’t until later that I realized he took away my virginity, I guess I blocked that out). I also felt that something was wrong with me that my own parents couldn’t love me, that I was somehow awful. I spent most of my life imitating others to appear “normal” but feeling very abnormal. This began a period of many decades of depression, suicidal thoughts and actions, and stupid choices that only made me feel worse about myself. It all started with that first visit.
The happiest time in my life was when I got baptized and all the darkness fell off of me. I really felt like a new creation, and God gave me back my life. It took two years of a lot of loving conversation with Pastor Don to help me to realize that God did love me, that I hadn’t committed the sin that God couldn’t forgive. That I was not spoiled goods, that each and every sin I had committed could be forgiven. I said the sinner’s prayer and the next time baptism came up, I obeyed and was baptized. I have to tell you I was scared because there was a fear that God wouldn’t want me, but He did. And it has not been a trouble free time since then, but God has helped me to grow and learn more about Him. Our relationship daily grows stronger.
But if you are looking for a more mundane period of happiness, my marriage to Jim has been blessed, and most recently he threw me a surprise birthday party. At that time I was surrounded by my Christian friends and family, and felt for the first time that I was given a new family that loved me. God had healed that gigantic hole in my life.
From left to right around table, Sonny, Loretta, Jim (my husband) my three kids, Edward, Katherine, Christopher, me (in the Red), the tip of Pastor Don’s head peeking over his wife Cynthia, my friend Julie and Tommy.
Yes I have kept a secret. My husband turned sixty a few years ago and we were arranging a surprise visit from relatives. I could not tell him, hard as it was, but the trip fell through due to health reasons of my sister. I have to tell you that I am not comfortable keeping secrets from my husband, so don’t do it. I even tell him about close calls in driving the car. Perhaps it is a reaction to not wanting to fall back into the patterns of the past. I have not told my kids all about my past, that is a need to know basis.
Jamie (6/22/13 – Xanga is closing and Jamie hasn’t given a forwarding address) asked this:

This is an honest to good question:

What is Sin?

I know what it says in Galatians but, for an unbeliever, what is it??


There is no double standard for sin – if you concede that there is absolute truth, there cannot be degrees of sin. Sin is sin is sin. The unbelievers will be as accountable for their actions as believers – we can see in Revelation that all will stand before the throne of God and be judged. That being said, God is a just judge, and he will deal justly. No one will walk away from the throne of God believing that their outcome was unfair. God knows more than we do, and knows a person’s heart. But for us we have been given a remarkable gift of salvation and liberty from sin, all we need to do is repent and ask Jesus into our hearts. The truth be told, when we go before God we go alone. We will not be compared with another. We will stand on our works and actions, sins and faith. God will not compare us with another. So what really matters is if we have accepted Jesus into our lives.

In our discipleship course, Pastor Don wrote about sin something that might be helpful.

A Fisherman’s Definition of Sin (page 101)

”    Sin is behavior in thought or deed that is contrary to the nature of or in violation of God’s laws. The Bible says, “whatever is not from faith is sin” (Romans 14:23). Doubt, unbelief, worry, any fear other than fear of God is also sin, especially if improperly given more place than Faith. Any thought or action that is “unloving” is sin. All the above separate us from God and ultimately violate self. We are created beings capable of violating our own best interest and design. God’s love for us and His need to be loved caused Him to give us “free will.” This “free will” means that we can and must continually make choices. Sometimes we choose immediate gratification based on false information and violate God, self and others. Sin usually has instant rewards. If nothing else, sin is the result of the flesh (carnal nature) pleasing the self.”


We cannot put a meter on sin, all sin is sin – all sin kills. But the consequences of the sins we commit could vary – stealing a pack of gum could get a reprimand, killing someone in some states could cost you your life. Sowing and reaping is guaranteed.  Our actions will impact our future. Tell one small lie and get caught, then many will not believe any words out of your mouth. We can ask God for a crop failure in our lives, that the things that we have sowed will be reduced or destroyed so that we do not reap the full harvest from our sins. But God is sovereign and He will do what is just.

John 1:9 says “If we confess our sins He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

God is absolute truth, absolute justice, absolute love, absolute grace, etc. While we, in our limited understanding cannot comprehend how God can be judge and loving at the same time, God can and does do just that. There is an absolute standard of right and wrong – and God has laid down the rules in his Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth (BIBLE). These rules and commandments (Jesus got them down to two – love God and love each other), are there for our good, because like a good parent, God knows the consequences of disobedience. Adam and Eve allowed satan to come in and take over earth by one act of disobedience. When we obey God we will find greater joy and happiness.

Although people might say that it is unfair that we are judged by this standard, and those who don’t know the standard are then left out. That is not true. The Laws of Moses, the Ten Commandments are a ruler to let us know that we can’t keep all the law without God. But Abraham did not have the Law of Moses, yet many of the things we read about in Genesis are precursors of the Law and of Jesus. The law is there written in our blood, in our conscience, in our being. Most cultures have basic laws about not killing each other, not stealing from each other, and other laws to keep society civilized.

Unbelievers cannot pretend that they have no evidence of their creator, it is written in creation. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see how interconnected all of creation is, and that at the very least there had to be an intelligent designer.

I spent 40 years in sin, hating God, disregarding all of his rules. I felt, as many in the new age do, that I was god, that I was in control, that I could make my rules and live by them. The problem that we have is that people are pretty self-centered, and if left to it’s own logical conclusion, we would end up at each other’s throats because we would violate each other’s “freedom.” To be truly free we need to obey something. And God gives us a choice. We can choose to obey one who loves us, one who loved us so much to die for us for our sin’s forgiveness, or we can choose to obey the enemy, the flesh, that which is out to destroy us. We have a choice.

We cannot weigh sins on a scale either. We cannot say, “I told a little white lie, you told a whopper.” A lie is a lie is a lie. Once we let one tiny, tiny sin in, we are polluted. Imagine a glass of white, pure milk. Take one drop of chocolate syrup and mix it into the milk. Stir it up and taste. It will look like pure milk, smell like pure milk, taste like pure milk, but scientific analysis will detect the tiny drop of syrup that destroys the purity of the milk. Sin is like that, we are all sinners.

What I find amazing is that Jesus died for our sins, took them on Himself, and all we have to do is to accept this remarkable gift that He gave us. Some people feel that we have to work out our salvation – that good works will get us in Heaven. It is not true. It is not works, it is His Grace that provides our salvation. But once saved, we do love Jesus and are so touched by His love for us that we want to help do the work of the kingdom. If we did nothing, He would still love us, but in loving Him, we want to help.

I hope this is helpful. I am open to others comments on this topic which is a great topic.



About Heather Marsten

Welcome to Heather's Blog. I'm looking forward to meeting you and checking out your sites. I just moved about nine years of material over from another blog site, Xanga, who may close down mid-July. At first I was disappointed to make the move because I had a lifetime membership at Xanga and had to spend weeks transferring posts. But now I'm thrilled. Already I've met new bloggers and read many new websites. Blogging is a wonderful way to expand my horizons and garner new ideas. I'm a happily married mom of three young adults. My husband and I are proud to watch our children grow and venture out into the world. My daughter is still in college but my two sons have graduated. One has a job and the other just graduated and is in the process of finding a job in his field, physics. Anyone know of any jobs out there? I'm proud of our children and love watching them grow and mature. They've become fine, compassionate, and loving people. Empty nest? Nah, I'm too busy to let an empty nest bother me. Not enough hours in the day. My husband and I enjoy quiet time together and I have many interests to pursue - one of which is blogging :D I am a born-again believer and love God. As you read this blog, you will discover that Bible studies thrill me. There is so much wisdom contained between the covers of the Bible and I am fortunate to sit under the teachings of a remarkable pastor, Pastor Don Moore. Members of our church (Living Word Chapel in West Hurley, New York) are encouraged to teach and there are visiting pastors who stop by our church, I also study the Bible on my own and love sharing what I learn. One other passion is writing. My current work in process is a memoir. A scene from my memoir was published in a book called: Heavenly Company: Entertaining Angels Unaware - an anthology of angelic encounters compiled by Cecil Murphy. I'm hoping my memoir will encourage other survivors of abuse. I grew up in a home filled with abuse, including incest. For most of my life I was searching for something that would fill the void of not being loved by my parents. I tried many ways to find that love -- therapy, relationships, occult studies, and keeping my life so filled I had no way to think about my past. It was only when I discovered God that I was able to put the pieces of my life back together and walk forward in a joyous life. My nickname - wondering has changed from wondering where the heck God was in my life, to wondering what incredible adventure is going to happen next. I hope you enjoy my site. Please say hi, share some thoughts, and ask questions. I look forward to meeting you and checking out your sites. Have a blessed day. Heather
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