Are Some Sins Worse Than Others?

This is a reflective post for those who don’t mind being asked to think a little.  It is a follow up to a post from a couple of weeks ago.  Consider that the following is written in James 2:1, “My brothers, show no partiality as you hold the faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory.”  Even so…

Ever noticed that different acts of sin are many times thought of and/or treated different?  Sadly, I have personal knowledge of the following…

Churches that will not ordain a man as a deacon if he has been divorced, but they WILL ordain a man who’s wife is a gossip.  Second, a church leader was recently arrested for DUI, yet was allowed to continue serving as a leader in the church without any discipline what so ever from the congregation (Even though his arrest was detrimental to the reputation of the congregation and the faith).  Third, a man was re-elected as a deacon and put in places of leadership even though he was convicted of a felony (A pardon was granted, but the reputation of the church was tarnished significantly in the community), but a man who was suspected of questionable behavior (Also a deacon and teacher) was asked to leave the same church.

Continuing with my question, which is worse?  Adultery or greed…  Homosexuality or taking revenge…  Fornication or homosexuality or lust…  Injustice or hatred…  Lying or stealing…  Drunkenness or idolatry…  Pride or coarse humor…  Gossiping or cheating…  Hypocrisy or bitterness… Favoritism OR…?

Before I suggest a few Scriptures to consider… I have some thoughts.  First… in God’s sight all sin is equal in that it is a transgression of His law.  In that context, all sin will be punished by Him equally.  Second… while all sin is equal as a transgression, not all sin has the same consequences in this lifeExample: Both murder & speeding are breaking the law.  However, for murder the penalty is prison or death… for speeding it is a ticket.  Same in the strictest sense, different in punishment.  I guess at this point I have to admit working through a few issues… with the previous passage from James ringing in my ears.

Now for a few Scriptures for reflection…

James 2:10 Whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become accountable for all of it.

1 Corinthians 6:9 Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, 10 nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. 11 And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.

Ephesians 4:22 Put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, 23 and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, 24 and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.  25 Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another. 26  Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, 27 and give no opportunity to the devil. 28 Let the thief no longer steal, but rather let him labor, doing honest work with his own hands, so that he may have something to share with anyone in need. 29  Let NO corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. 30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31 Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. 32 Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you. 

James 1:19 Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; 20 for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness that God requires. 21 Therefore put away all filthiness and rampant wickedness and receive with meekness the implanted Word, which is able to save your souls.

Final thought… I’m still ruminating on all this and don’t have answers to my questions yet.  Any help out there??

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10 comments on “Are Some Sins Worse Than Others?

  1. Roxie says:

    Don’t have answers but questions? Where does forgiveness come in all of this? Are we to always hold the sin against a person for what they did? Thought, the Lord would forgive, if we sincerely ask for forgiveness and turn from that sin?

    • pastorron7 says:

      Good questions Roxie! Here’s a thought to consider… forgiveness does not negate consequences (In this life). David committed adultery and murder (2 Sam 11-12). He was forgiven by God, however… the consequences of his sin were not removed in this life which were: 1) His wives would be attacked, 2) He would be at war the rest of his life, 3) Members of his own household would rise up against him, 4) The child born to him and Bathsheba would die. Sin has consequences.

      The love I have for my children never changed, but they were still disciplined when they disobeyed me. Sin has consequences.

      The point of this post is in a different direction though. My struggle is more why we overlook some sin, but attack others… why we condemn some sin, but rationalize others. My struggle has more to do with the injustice of our actions. That is what I’m trying to figure out… because I am trying to get a handle on justice, mercy, and grace.

  2. Searching says:

    Profound questions. It would appear that many view sin from man’s perspective rather than God’s to rationalize and justify his/her own sinfulness.

    Excellent post!!

    SDG

  3. Patricia McClendon says:

    We look at different sins differently and with degrees of iintensity because we are mere humans. God looked at our sins, all of our sins, and washed them away with the blood of Jesus. God is in the business of forgiving….Yes He punishes us or maybe discipline is a better word. We learn more from discipline than punishment. God is only interested in our actions on earth in the context of “does this further our relationship with Him and also bring glory to His name.” I think we do a lot of things that fall short of that and no one even considers that they have done anything wrong. Maybe we should use this Holy season to reflect on the “right” things we SHOULD be doing instead of the “wrong” things that we are doing. Keeping ones eyes on the Cross will help us from doing the “should nots”

  4. Joan says:

    It would be nice if there was a “one-size fits all” formula!

  5. Bill Springer says:

    Easy answers, Ron! We “overlook” and “rationalize” some sins, but “attack” and “condemn” others, because of who the sinner is. I rationalize my own sins, and condemn the sins of other people. Now, if I can just convince myself that God agrees with me….

  6. FLT says:

    I think that a person’s standing in the church and community often determins whether or not church discipline is applied. If there is church discipline today it must be handled quietly because I never hear of it. Do you think that because we are not taught the biblical truth about judging others, but are taught not to judge others makes a difference in how we treat those who commit sin?

  7. Peggy Holder says:

    I worked at Sears for one year. Many people wrote bad checks to pay for their orders. If those who wrote the checks were just ordinary people like me, the manager embarrased them in front of everybody when they came to pick up the check. If they were among the more elite, (yes, they write bad checks too), they were taken to his office and the matter settled quietly. It is the same in our churches, I am sad to say, but I do believe it is all in who you are in other peoples eyes. Is this right. NO!!! I need to really assess my attitudes to be certain I am not guilty of this prejudicial type of thinking. Thanks Ron for another thought provoking blog. Chrisitans are to be different. I’m afraid that sometimes we show no more Christ like love than those who do not profess to be anything.

  8. Bill Springer says:

    Jesus says apparently opposing things. In Matt. 7: 1-5 we are told not to judge others. In Matt. 18: 15-17 we are told the procedure for correcting someone we have judged to be wrong. What to do?

    • pastorron7 says:

      Ahh Bill, you are thinking. GOOD! A couple of thoughts…

      In Mt 7 we are not being told NOT to judge… but to judge rightly (With the right motivation… with proper personal evaluation). In Mt 7:5 Jesus says that AFTER we’ve gotten our own life in order THEN we can HELP our brother (Implied is not to condemn them. In my mind that means we are seeking to help and restore them to walking with God. See Galatians 5:1-3).

      In Mt 18 the matter begins with when a person sins AGAINST US… which means tere is be a problem in the relationship. Jesus does not seem to be teaching that we are walking around like the morality police looking for how to correct others in THEIR waywardness toward God. The point is working toward healing a relationship when we have personally been wronged by someone. With that in mind both Mt 7 and Gal 5 fit perfectly together with Mt 18.

      That is a thumbnail sketch of an explanation. Hope that helps.

      Thank you for your comment my friend!

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