Living in Sinnerville
May 3, 2006 • By Ed Wrather
All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned, every one, to his own way; and the LORD has laid on Him the iniquity of us all. - Isaiah 53:6.
Soon there will be an opportunity to actually live in a housing addition named "Sinnerville." It is located in Wyoming and there are some who are unhappy with the choice of the name. The chairperson of the Campbell County Commission, Marilyn Mackey says about a consideration of the subdivision‘s final plan including the name, "I expect there would be some discussion on that. However, the county really does not regulate the naming of subdivisions unless there's a conflict with another subdivision." The name, however, is not as controversial as you might think. The subdivision’s planner is Jason Sinner. Sinner has pointed out that he is proud of his name and others in the family who have been named Sinner. George A. Sinner is well known in the northern states having served as Governor of North Dakota from 1985 to 1992.
I can identify with the name problem to some extent because my grandmother’s (father’s mother) maiden name was Siniard sometimes recorded as Sinard. They were Huguenots who came to this country from France, but I have wondered if the name variation ever caused any problems for those in the family with that name. I once lived on "Roach Street" in one small city, but learned that it was named after someone with the railroad that had helped to found the city. I have also learned that many families still proudly bear the name. Perhaps it is not so much the name, but instead the life of the person bearing the name that should give it meaning. Just because one person with a certain name has not lived, as they should, does not necessarily mean that others with the name are not living exemplary lives.
Actually, we have all lived in a literal "Sinnerville" whether we have admitted to it or not. Because as Isaiah writes, "All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned, every one, to his own way…." In the New Testament, the apostle Paul also tells us in Romans 3:23 that we have all sinned and failed to measure up to the holiness of God. None of us have lived a perfect life, we have not lived an absolutely holy life. Even though we may have a desire to live such a life, it is impossible to do so, and God knew that it was impossible.
The great news is that we do not have to remain in "Sinnerville." We can move. We can change our address. Why? Because, "…the LORD has laid on Him the iniquity of us all." How? Receive the grace and mercy of God through Jesus Christ. Believe and receive Jesus Christ as your personal Savior. As Jesus Himself tells us in John 3:16, "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life."
Once you know Christ as your Savior, live like it. You are now called by His name, Christian (Acts 11:26). How you live, how I live, reflects on everyone else in the family.