There are certain sins that Christians are always good at pointing out – usually in others. And there are obviously sins that we are shocked and appalled by, and usually see these sins as worse than others. Then there are sins commonly ignored because they seem minor to us.
But the reality is, all sin separates us from Christ. There aren't degrees of separation – you are either reconciled to God or you are a stranger to him (see Colossians 1:21-22), there is no in-between.
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We can trick ourselves into believing that it's the really "big" sins we have to avoid, all the while ignoring deadly sin in our own lives. Make no mistake-all sin is wrong, all sin needs to be confessed and all of us need to walk away from our sinful tendencies and through humble, dependent faith, walk in righteousness.
Here are 8 sins we tend to ignore but can't afford to ignore any longer.
Sins Commonly Ignored 1: Selfishness/Self-Righteousness
How often did Jesus call out the Pharisees in the New Testament? All. The. Time. And it was always for self-righteousness or selfishness. If you have to compliment yourself on something good you've done, then you aren't doing it right. So many of us like to display our faithful acts so that others will know what good Christians we are. Christ doesn't care what everyone else thinks of your generosity. He cares about your heart and your motivation. If you need other people to know about the good things you do, feel, or think in order to feel validated, then you need to re-evaluate.
Sins Commonly Ignored 2: Patriotism
For the record, I do NOT think patriotism in and of itself is a sin. I put this here because all too often we put faith and Christian values in the same box as political party and patriotism. The bible is clear about the fact that Jesus' name will be declared to ALL nations and peoples of the world.
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We shout, "‘Merica!" and talk about how much better we are than everyone else, but that's not biblical. We project Christianity on to the American flag and assume that God acts American, but that's not how it works. Celebrate American values and understand how blessed you are to live here, but remember that at the end of the day you are a citizen of heaven, and heaven will be full of people from all over the world.
Sins Commonly Ignored 3: Fear/Worry
Jesus is very clear about worrying. He flat out tells us not to worry. Faith requires trust. 1 John 4:18 says, "There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear. . ." God is love. He loved us enough to send his son to die to atone for our sins. His love is perfect; therefore, we should have nothing to fear. I know fear is inevitable sometimes. It is a major struggle for me. We are not perfect, but fear and worry are not part of the equation with Christ. These attitudes that imply a lack of faith. All we can do is remember that God is sovereign and always in control.
Sins Commonly Ignored 4: Pride
We talk about pride all the time in church. We consistently discuss how detrimental and dangerous it is, but it seems like we don't recognize what pride actually is. We don't realize that every time we refuse someone forgiveness we are acting in pride. Every time you argue with a friend, family member, or spouse and insist that you will not be the one to apologize first then you act out of pride. Remember the grace that Christ extends to you and try to extend that same grace and forgiveness to others.
Sins Commonly Ignored 5: Gluttony/Coveting
This sin is closely related to pride. We bury ourselves in debt in order to make sure we have the best and newest things. The disciples often lived off of the generosity of others and Jesus was a poor carpenter. I'm not saying that wealth is inherently bad. It's not. If you can afford that Mercedes, by all means, buy it. But if you can't; if you are spending hundreds of dollars each month paying off debt, then you could be committing a modern form of gluttony. You need to look inside yourself and search your heart. If your nice things were taken away, would you still be satisfied and able to find joy in Christ? Why are you really in debt? Who are you trying to impress, God or men?
Sins Commonly Ignored 6: Gossip
I'm from the South, and there is an unspoken rule here that you can say whatever you want about someone as long as you follow it with, "Bless her heart!"
I am as guilty of this as anyone. We like to talk about other people's lives as if we live in their heads and know everything about them. This is something "churchy" people are constantly accused of, and is often the result of a judgemental attitude (covered below).
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Why won't the woman who had an abortion come to your church? Because she's afraid of the looks you'll give her and the distance at which you will keep her. The same could be said for the pregnant 16 year old or the man who cheated on his wife. Sure, it's nice to escape our own issues by talking about someone else's for a while, but let's try to remember to speak with grace and that our sin is just as sinful as anyone else's.
Sins Commonly Ignored 7: Hatred
In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus tells us what we already know – that murder is wrong – but he follows that up by saying that anyone who has harbored hatred towards someone has committed murder in his heart. Hatred is connected intimately with fear. We fear people we don't understand and that fear causes us to hate them irrationally. The general attitude towards all Muslims based on the acts of a small sect is a perfect example of this. We also tend to harbor hatred against those who have hurt us. We constantly need to be searching our heart and monitoring our thoughts and feelings.
Sins Commonly Ignored 8: Judgment
This one is the kicker. This is what will be the death of our faith and our influence. I know that Paul tells the churches to expel sinners from their midst. He encourages us not to indulge someone in sinful behavior. We use those verses to justify judgment of others and I believe this is a gross misinterpretation of scripture.
The truth of Jesus is in our equality. We are all sinners in need of a Savior. Christians have accepted Christ and avoided condemnation based on faith and the grace of God. We do not avoid condemnation based on our own actions. Every time we think less of someone else, we forget that we are also sinners.The only way to avoid this sin is to acknowledge our own weaknesses and to embrace humility. In fact, that could help us avoid a multitude of sins.
Rachel-Claire Cockrell is a wife, a writer, and a high school English teacher. She is passionate about her students and does her best to exemplify the love of Christ to those kids who may not experience it anywhere else. She and her husband live in Arkansas. Follow her blog at http://rachelclaireunworthy.blogspot.com/ or on Facebook.
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