How do you explain sin to a child? The very thing that caused the fall of man and found us put out of the Garden of Eden and spinning towards a world filled with death, disease and horrors? I struggled with this as a parent when the girls were littles. How do you break it down to understandable terms when you struggle to understand it yourself?

In the end, I just explained that sin is the ultimate example of selfishness. You are choosing to put yourself and what you want over what you know to be true, thus it’s a sin. The idea that sin is everywhere in our world is a reality; watch the news in the evenings and see the murders, the crimes, the thefts and the injustices of the world in faraway places. Our world is drowning in that sin.

When we put what we want over what God wants for us — that is a sin. Does that mean that we can’t do what we want? Nope. It means that there are guidelines that God left us, examples that Jesus Christ lived in order to guide us in growth. When we step outside those guidelines, we are sinning.

We are called to love our neighbors, as we love ourselves. I’m not sure about your neighbors but mine are a bit strange. We wave and smile at one another but that’s about it. They are about the exact opposites of us. They may or may not be hoarders. Their entire garage is packed full of boxes and things, while I’m notorious about purging and getting rid of clutter. They have a dog that is never off his leash and looks a little sad, while my crazy bird dogs have the run of my house, my bed and everyone in the neighborhood knows their names as I’m constantly calling them at a high pitch scream while they do what they want versus what I want. So even though we have nothing in common, Christ’s example is to love them as I love myself. I fall short.

Another example of that sin is when we become bitter at the advancement and progression of others. How many times do we hear of someone’s achievement or advancement and we blow it off with an excuse for our behavior? This is straight up sinning. We are to celebrate each other and the advancement of others. There will be people in your path who will resent your growth, they won’t acknowledge the effort and sacrifice it took to get to that point. Walk past them and give praise for that growth. There will always be those who are envious of your path. Don’t get off in the weeds with them.

When we put our needs above those of the people around us, we are sinning. We will always “need” something. However what makes our needs more important than those around us? Absolutely nothing. I always come back to the story of the man who was paralyzed and was so faithful to the knowledge that Jesus could heal him, that he had his friends carry him to a house where Jesus was. His friends cut a hole in the roof(imagine just sitting there with Jesus when a huge hole opened up in your ceiling), then they literally lowered him down to Jesus’ feet. That faith! Those friends! And he walked away, a cured man, still a sinner but saved and renewed in his flesh.

God doesn’t ask for much from us. He wants time and he wants our acceptance and acknowledge of the sacrifice of his son. When we are possessive of our time, when we fill every free moment with social media, television or other things, we are denying him that time with us. I’m not sure about other people, but when God speaks to me, it’s in the quiet… that time I’m dedicating to him and it’s a whisper in my soul… where the Holy Spirit dwells.

I don’t know a lot but I know this: nobody loves you like God does. That little voice in your soul, it’s not your conscious, it’s him … sort of same thing. He leads you to the will of the Lord.

— Kalynn Brazeal is a conservative, Christian wife/mom/country girl carrying around an MBA, several decades of business experience and a strong opinion. Now living in the remoteness of North Dakota, she continues to share her column on life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness and cake. She can be reached by email at kmbrazeal@icloud.com.