Several years ago, I remember talking with my pastor, Tom Stipe, and discussing something I had observed: Sin makes you weird, but walking with Jesus makes a person increasingly healthy and “normal.”
Who Defines What is “Weird”?
Some people might bristle at the terms “weird” and “normal,” wondering whose definition of “normal” we should use, but in this case I use it in the sense of the healthy standards for behavior and attitudes that are laid out in the Bible, and which have shaped global society in a pervasive way.
For more on that, see Tom Holland’s incredible book, Dominion: How the Christian Revolution Remade the World. Holland is not a “Christian author” per se; he is a historian who has spent most of his life studying history as relates to other topics, but he has admitted that his research for this book profoundly impacted his life and faith personally. I read it last year and would recommend it.
So, when I say “normal” in this sense, I am referring to virtues which are not only biblical, but which are affirmed by the majority of cultures worldwide. Things such as goodness, kindness, charity, graciousness, and the like – in contrast to abuse, usury, envy, pride, and so on.
My conviction that “sin makes you weird” is not new to me, but it has been verified through the ever-increasing use of brain scans which show how certain behaviors affect brain activity.
One of the chief among these, and most reported on, is the use of illicit drugs, including marijuana, and pornography.
This article published by Inverse is just one of many on this topic which give empirical proof that pornography usage has negative effects on brain function and produces problematic behavior, as it changes the way a person thinks, views others, and relates to the world. THIS IS YOUR BRAIN ON PORN: Casual porn watching changes the brain a lot more than you’d think.
Do Other Sins Make You Weird? What’s the Solution?
I would venture to guess that other behaviors have similar affects on behavior, outlook, and the brain, such as lying, jealousy, and other attitudes and actions.
Here is a discussion I had with Pastor Michael, our Worship Pastor at White Fields Church about this topic, in a follow-up to a sermon from John 15:1-11 called Jesus Is: the True Vine.
In it, importantly, we talk about the solution to the problem, which is: abiding in Christ, which Jesus defines as living in abiding relationship with him, by obeying his commandments (John 15:10).
Here’s the video of that discussion: