The Awakened Sinner
If a careless sinner responds properly to appropriate truth, wisely presented, they have the wonderful privilege of becoming an awakened sinner. The main difference between the two is that the awakened begins to experience a dimension and degree of concern that they previously did not. Generally, it is concern about the negative consequences of sin and how such consequences affect them. That means, if sin did not affect them in a negative manner, they would likely continue with it. It is not how it affects God or others that disturbs them but how it affects them. As strange as it might sound to some, we can rejoice over the fact that they are disturbed. I will explain later why this particular form of disturbance should not be confused with conviction. It is my assumption (having no empirical study or proof to back me up) that most sinners fit within this category.
Sensitive to the existence of a “problem,” the awakened sinner generally takes refuge in the “blame game.” The problem is their parents, their neighborhood, their economic status, their race (or other’s responses to it), the police, the school teachers, the business owner, the government, the church, the politician, the…you get the picture. Please understand that I am not saying that there are no problems within these areas, there are likely huge problems in all of them, but the most important thing the awakened sinner leaves out is, first, their response to such problems and second, their role in any or all such problems. It is common that an awakened sinner will complain (often pitifully seeking pure sympathy) about their lousy father while, at the same time, being a lousy father. Awakened sinners are “great” at pointing the finger. Again, though there are many external problems, “pointing the finger” and playing the “blame game” is a detrimental dissuasion tactic for the awakened sinner. It is detrimental because it prevents them from acknowledging and dealing with their problem(s).
The awakened sinner likes and uses sympathy. They often view and represent themselves as victims of a cruel world. Many of the abuses and violations that people have experienced are real and atrocious. However, ungoverned sympathy as a sole response to such people does not provide them with solutions. On the other side of this coin, you will find that awakened sinners like to offer lists of their achievements and “good deeds.” At times, especially when they are speaking with a Christian, the “good deeds” will be of a religious nature; how involved in church they have been, how many people they have helped, etc. It is worth noting at this point that we should not think of all awakened sinners as nasty, unappealing, criminal-type people. Many awakened sinners are “respectable,” middle to upper class, church-going people.
To wrap up our consideration of the nature of the awakened sinner, I will say that they use a wide variety of techniques to avoid taking personal responsibility where sin is concerned. This is the reason for the “blame game,” to keep the focus on something other than themselves. However, though many naïve Christian workers continue to fall prey to something as blatant as the “blame game,” the distractions are often of a more subtle nature. Some will even talk about religious issue, at times, in depth doctrinal ideas (usually about eschatology or Bible trivia facts and details),as long as they can keep the focus away from the personal, subjective reality of their sin and selfishness. The variables are quite wide; some being willing to ponder your presentation (until it gets personal) and some preferring not to hear what you have to say; some will take pleasure in painting your mental picture of them (poor, pitiful victim or person of great achievement), while others are withdrawn and silent. The important thing to understand, before we consider how to interact with them, is that, before they will experience actual, deliverance, conversion and transformation, they must deal with, recognize and embrace personal accountability.
 It is good to make the distinction between whether a person is “sorry” about sinning or sorry about being caught.
 Though this is a variation of this mode of operation I once heard a lady state that her son had been stopped at 3:00 AM for driving under the influence, followed by the statement, “What was that stupid cop doing out at 3:00 AM?”
 When handing out gospel tracts and speaking with people at a local mall, I approached a man, offered him a tract while saying, “Did you get one of these?” (People will likely impulsively take it if you use this approach) Upon recognizing it to be a gospel tract, he handed it back to me stating, “I have a church.” This led me to the conclusion that he was a church-going, religious sinner.