Regardless of what Christians deem "sinful", everything I suggested above is universally considered wrong (note I didn't put anything in about premarital sex or pornography or blaspheming God, because not everyone accepts these as sinful). But we do these things anyway. Perhaps it was an accident, perhaps we didn't mean to lose our temper (for example). But we still did it. To me, that is being honest, pure and simple. Accepting that humans are not perfect. At this point we can take two roads - we can believe that God cares about how we act and maybe have wronged God by our action, or we can believe that God doesn't care how we act and/or God doesn't exist.
Christians take the view that we make mistakes, and God cares about those mistakes. He cares about it so much that he set out a punishment for those acts. And to show us how seriously he considers it, he has put in place the ultimate penalty - death. We could argue that we didn't mean to break the law, and therefore should be shown clemency. I was driving in a car with friends a few years back, when suddenly we were flagged over by the police who held a radar gun to our car. Apparently we missed the sign that declared we were travelling in a 60 zone (we were travelling at 78, in what we thought was an 80 zone - all the other cars were doing the same speed, we were just unlucky to be the ones flagged in a speed trap). The police officer still issued the fine to the driver. Apparently "we didn't mean to do it and promise not to do it in the future" didn't cut it with the authorities.
Christians also believe that God is a Just God and therefore will carry out the judgement he set out. But we also believe he is entirely Merciful, and hence has paid the penalty himself (to go back to the speeding car analogy, it would be like the police officer paying the fine himself). As a result of this, I choose to accept that and in gratitude I now devote my life to God. To share a story if you don't mind (it's based on a real event, but I don't remember names or dates, it was an analogy shared during church a few years ago) - a young man once struck it rich panning for gold. On his way into town he saw a slave auction. He saw that rich and powerful men were bidding on a particularly beautiful slave girl. Knowing what would happen to the girl if she was bought by one of them (rape) the man poured all his wealth into outbidding the men. Soon the girl was legally his. He goes up to her and says "I bought you so that I could set you free". In gratitude, the slave girl fell crying, and said "Since you set me free from slavery, I ask only that I can live to serve you".
edit: I just did some googling, came across THIS - it appears to be the story I was referring to, but it is also a second-hand account. In any case, whether the story is based in real history or whether it's just an analogy, the point remains the same
That's how I view my decision to follow God. I am honest with myself in accepting that I've done things I know I should not have done. I believe that this has a consequence (not a "guilt trip"), and because God set me free from my penalty, I choose to devote my life to serving him.
I'm sorry, I know this sounds preachy, but I'm not meaning to convert anyone, I'm just sharing what it is I believe and why I feel it is not a matter of my beliefs "guilting" me into anything. In any case, I hope it offers an answer for you from my perspective.
~ Regards, PA
Edited by Paranoid Android, 23 May 2013 - 06:00 AM.