When I go into public high schools as a Christian worker, I am very often asked by the school students whether smoking, swearing, abortion, pre-marital sex, etc, etc, etc, are sins. The idea of sin seems to be a huge concern for many teenagers. Various factors, such as increasing levels of freedom and independence, surging hormones, peer pressure and media influences, as well as underdeveloped levels of self-discipline, can mean that teenagers engage in activities that they know to be wrong and unhealthy.
I find it interesting that the concept of sin is still understood, and is very real, for young people in post-modern society. However I am disappointed by these “sin questions” from high-schoolers because they reveal a very narrow view of sin, and no real comprehension that Jesus has provided the solution for the sin problem.
When these “sin questions” come up, I try to redirect and refocus the subject – without minimising their concerns – by pointing out that ultimately there is only one sin that really matters. John made this very clear in his gospel when he quoted Jesus.