1 John 1:8-10

Sin in the Computer World

Both my computer and my phone are very human. Like all humans, they are very averse to talking about sin. As soon as the word ‘sin’ is used in conversation, people change the topic. There seems to be a complete failure to ever discuss the universal reality of sin. Similarly, my electronic tools will not allow me to use the word. 

Being almost a senior citizen, by the time I came to the computer world, I’ve always looked for short cuts and ways to make it easy. I’ve learnt to type, but I’m not quick. I love to listen and speak rather than read and write. So, over the years I’ve tried repeatedly to find a good dictation program. Early versions required me to train them in how I speak, but never really seemed to catch my Australian accent or my sloppy diction. They seemed to be training me how to speak their way, rather than being trained in my way. Each generation of dictation program has improved the performance, but still there is a degree of frustration. 

Today, dictation apps are built into computers and phones and apparently need no training. They not only seem better at reproducing my words but seem to adjust the words to fit into context as I dictate. But they will not allow me to use the word ‘sin’. In a recent trial on the word ‘sin’, they produced the following alternatives: ‘scene’, ‘sing’, ‘seen’, ‘since’, ‘six’, ‘see’, and ‘sense’ but never ‘sin’ or ‘sins’. Even when I purposely created a religious context about God, Jesus and the cross – I could not get the app to reproduce the word ‘sin’!

So, I figured that rather than being frustrated and annoyed, I should see this as an illustration of the human heart. For we humans are quite good at screening out objectionable topics. We know how to change the topic, misunderstand or even ignore what we don’t want to hear. And there is no more objectionable topic than the biblical diagnosis of our hearts. So, just as with the computer, our ears will not allow the concept of sin to be openly mentioned.

I may use this illustration when next preaching on 1 John 1:8-10.

If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.

P.S. I just tried out ‘hell’ and got ‘helmet’, ‘hill’, and ‘all’. 

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