We are all separated from Christ by sin. It’s easy to focus on the “big” sins. Here are everyday things that can become sins Christians ignore too easily.
Some choose to point fingers and think that by trying to be a “good person” we are avoiding catastrophe in our relationship with God. But are we? As Christians, we have to remind ourselves that we “all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23).
Christians still have sin in our lives. Some of those sins could be easily overlooked or excused thinking that we are serving God. In reality, we might be serving busyness, or career, or relationships over what God truly wants for our lives. It’s easy to get caught up in the moment. But what if that “moment” is the very thing keeping us from a deep meaningful relationship with our Heavenly Father? Let’s take a look at some areas that might be stumbling blocks for Christians in today’s society.
Sins Christians Ignore 12. Idolizing Career Over Relationship
The world will encourage us to be “someone” and to seek “success” above everything. But that is a lie. Our goal as Christians should be to put God before all else. If we are consumed with seeking Him first and His Kingdom our lives will be richer than we could imagine. However, if we allow our work to take a position over our time seeking a relationship with God, worldly success might come but it will be fleeting.
“But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” Matthew 6:33
Sins Christians Ignore 11. Putting Family Before God
As Christians, we are supposed to build strong relationships in our family, honor our parents, and raise our children to be Christ-followers. We are also called to put God first and serve Him. But we have to be careful that loving and caring for our families comes as a result of loving and serving God. Do not allow the importance of “being there” for family to become its own form of idolatry or barrier between you and God.
“Anyone who loves their father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves their son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.” Matthew 10:37
This certainly doesn’t mean that we should abandon our families for God! Instead, it puts the focus on God first, and if we love Him fully that love will be greater than the love of our family. Our love and care for our families will become a service unto God.
Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving. Colossians 3:23-24
Putting God first also places parents with the responsibility to raise their children with the same focus in their own lives. Everything they do should be to God’s glory.
Whoever does not discipline his son hates him, but whoever loves him is diligent to correct him. Proverbs 13:24
Sins Christian Ignore 10. Allowing Lustful Situations
Lust is often thought of as having an affair or addiction to something of a sexual nature, but it is more complicated than that. The action of lust occurs as soon as the first thought is allowed to grow. In thought, the heart becomes an active participant as the attention is focused on the object of the lust.
As Hollywood and books become more graphic in their descriptions, storylines, and costuming the opportunity for lustful situations is growing.
“…but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.” James 1:14-15
Sins Christians Ignore 9. Consumerism vs. Service
“Keeping up with the Jones” seems mild in today’s standards. Now we can see not only what our neighbors have, but the computer allows us to keep up with more and more people. You used to have to go to a high school reunion to feel bad about yourself, but now self-doubt is right on your computer screen when you scroll through pictures of your former classmate’s new homes or big family vacations.
As more and more of us get our news online, we’re also inundated by ads that entice us to buy more things everytime we read an article.
“Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, "I will never leave you nor forsake you."’ Hebrews 13:5
Changing The Way We Use Technology
There is an opportunity to use social media as a tool to uplift one another. Our charge is to be content in what we are given by God and to be a good steward of that gift. We should not boast in our good fortune on earth but instead use those gifts to bless others.
“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.” Philippians 2: 3-7
Sings Christians Ignore 8. Overly-Expressing Opinions
We’ve all probably heard the phrase ‘everyone is entitled to their opinion.' But that doesn’t necessarily mean that those opinions should be shared. As Christians, we are called to love and encourage one another. But we are also challenged to keep each other accountable. In doing the latter, sometimes we overly-express our opinions vs. biblical truth given in a gracious way.
Particularly in today’s culture, it’s easy to be challenged online by those who have varying opinions. The joy of the internet is the wealth of different people coming together to offer their perspectives. But the flip side is that it also places many people with differing views in the same “arena”. It’s easy to forget the challenge to “love your neighbor” when they feel so detached behind a computer screen. However, even through various internet outlets, we still need to remember to exemplify the love of Christ through our comments and interactions with others.
While it is a serious topic to love each other and uplift each other, there is humor to be found in some of the extreme examples of “arm chair therapists” found online. Comedian JP Sears has compiled an amusing collection of jokes based around internet posts!
WATCH: Comedian Pokes Fun At Online Opinions
“A gentle answer turns away wrath, But a harsh word stirs up anger.” Proverbs 15:1
Sins Christians Ignore 7. Allowing Busyness To Replace Relationship
An easy one of the sins Christians ignore is over-extending our time. We’re busier now than ever before. We go to work, the store, the gym. Then we rush our kids and grandkids to their activities. We even are over-extending ourselves with well-meaning volunteer work or helping at our churches. It’s easy to overly fill our days to the point that we don’t have time to worship, pray, reflect, and seek a relationship with God.
If we do get downtime, in the doctor’s office waiting room for example, we fill it by scrolling on our phones instead of using the quiet to just listen to what God may be trying to tell us. Or even just experiencing life around us!
Most Christians are aware of the story of the two sisters, Mary and Martha. This is a perfect example of being so busy serving that you miss the opportunity to truly SERVE. Scripture says Martha invited Jesus into her home. We can assume she was the older sister and wanted to be the perfect host.
"But Martha was distracted with much serving, and she approached Him and said, ‘Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Therefore tell her to help me.'
But it’s obvious the toll of being hostess was frustrating when she saw that her sister was being “lazy” and not helping. What Martha missed is that Mary was living in the moment. She was valuing the time she had with Jesus and focused on the person vs. the stuff. When Martha asked Jesus to correct Mary, she received an unexpected response:
“And Jesus answered and said to her, ‘Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things. But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her' " Luke 10:40-42
In our lives of serving– whether it’s family, friends, or strangers– it’s important to remember to be in the moment. To not over-extend ourselves so that our serving is missing the mark of what is truly needed. We need each other and relationships.
Sins Christians Ignore 6. Gossip
How do we address sin in our lives if we’ve blurred the meaning of the word? Gossip is defined as “casual or unconstrained conversation or reports about other people, typically involving details that are not confirmed as being true.” But it can also be described as “chatty talk”. It can originate from good intentions but gossip is always information shared about another person to someone else. It may be true or not, but it is always information that paints someone else in a lesser light.
The major puzzle piece to gossip is that the person being discussed is completely left out of the loop and therefore, unable to defend themselves. While a Christian may not enter a gossip conversation with the intent of harming another person or tearing down their character, the result is almost always just that.
We are challenged "Treat others the way you want to be treated." When we participate in a conversation about someone else, are we ignoring this God-given rule? Perhaps instead of continuing a cycle of gossip we should take A.Z Towser’s advice:
“If you know something that would hinder or hurt the reputation of one of God's children, bury it forever.”
The Matthew 18 principle encourages us to take matters directly to the individual. If we hear gossip about someone else, we should stop the conversation and encourage those sharing to talk to the source.
With social media and the ability to discuss indirectly from our computers or phones, it has becoming exceedingly easy to gossip in the name of “retelling” and not necessarily think about whether it is good or right information.
“Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear.” Ephesians 4:29
Sins Christians Ignore 5. Dishonoring Our Parents
The relationship between a child and their parent is supposed to mirror that of the church and God. This means that as parents, we should train our children and discipline them in order to mold them into a godly child. But it also puts responsibility on children to treat their parents with respect, love, and obedience.
As parents and children age, the relationship changes. We become more equal in our decision-making. The parent and adult child begin to share similar experiences of adulthood. As parents age, they may need to rely more heavily on their adult children which can confuse the boundaries in the relationship. But an shift in responsibility doesn’t change the respect that is required in our relationships.
“Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. ‘Honor your father and mother’-which is the first commandment with a promise- "so that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth." Ephesians 6:1-3
With higher demands on 24-7 access from work, adult children having children of their own, and more families involving children in extra-curricular activities, the aging parent is easy to overlook. Our culture doesn’t encourage parents to live with their adult children and their families. One can become caught up in our own lives and neglect the very parents who devoted their time when we were young. In order to protect our own futures, adult children must lead by example and show their family how they love and respect their own parents.
Shift In Culture Leaves Parents In The Dust
As technology continues to grow, our education system is evolving. In years past, it was common for a son to learn his trade from his father. Years of practice would be required to match the skill. Now, children are learning varied topics at a greater speed and different format (hello, math!) than their parents. It’s easy for a child to think they are wiser or that their parent is “out of date”. Our culture praises knowledge over wisdom, which makes it harder for younger generations to respect their elders, much less value them.
Additionally, divorce and lack of responsibility are plaguing our relationships. Divorce can place children in a position of choosing between parents. Indeed the ability to pass the responsibility of an aging parent off on a facility with the ruse of them being “better qualified” is all too easy.
In addition to this, those who are trying to care for their parents may find themselves fighting guilt. Are we able to care for our parents, if we aren’t, does that mean we do not love them or are dishonoring them in God’s eyes?
In order to avoid dishonoring our parents, our first step should be prayer. Then obedience and respect. When we place our parents in high regard, we are learning how to treat ALL people, not just them. Our relationships will strengthen as we learn to pour into those who often accept and love us in spite of our downfalls. Our children will then learn by our example. If they respect and obey their parents, they will do so with outside authority, elders, and most importantly, God.
“Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” Proverbs 22:6
Sins Christians Ignore 4. Idolatry At The Root Of Our Actions
There are many forms of modern idolatry at play in a Christian’s life that may be overlooked. Often when we think of idolatry it is focused on not worshipping images or gods other than the one True God. (Remember the golden calf story in Exodus?)
‘You shall have no other gods before Me. ‘You shall not make for yourself an idol, or any likeness of what is in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the water under the earth.” Deuteronomy 5:7-9
But idolatry doesn’t just mean worshipping statues. It can be about your time, your focus, your heart-intent. Ultimately, anything that takes from your relationship with God and then your family/responsibilities can quickly become an idol. Perhaps exchanging the word “idol” for “obsession” or “focus” is a good start to evaluating the negative impact on one’s life.
For many today, we worship “stuff”. Materialism is overtaking the average household in America. Even as we fill our closets with items that we know will be used once and forgotten, there is a drive to purchase more items that will experience the same fate. Home sizes are growing under the pretense of a “need” for more closets. It’s less about need and more about want. We want more closets to house our “stuff”.
Are We Playing “God”?
But what about the idol of medicine and natural science? While there are many amazing life-saving achievements and disease fighting discoveries, at what point are we actually idolizing the ability to cure or prolong life? It’s easy to rely so heavily on OUR knowledge that we forget the source – God. Every new treatment or idea comes from a talent or gift given by Him.
There are others who have made environmentalism their idol. God clearly explained in the Bible that no man would know the time of his return, but that this world will indeed come to an end. While we should definitely be good stewards of what God has given us, the idea that we can make the world last on our terms and not His is not scripturally sound.
“But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a roar, and the heavenly bodies will be burned up and dissolved, and the earth and the works that are done on it will be exposed.” 2 Peter 3:10
Sins Christians Ignore 3. Self-Promotion Instead Of “Pressing Toward The Mark”
Another one of the sins Christians ignore can be pride and self-promotion. Humans need to be needed. But this can lead to an unhealthy worship of status at the office, church, or organizations one participates in. A society of workers who are “on call” 24-7 has developed. Many Christians find themselves working 60-80 hours, in the name of needing money to pay bills. In reality it’s more likely about their lifestyle priorities. On vacation, folks are now checking email, answering texts, or working on laptops. The ability to be “remote” has turned into a workaholic situation.
Apply ourselves at any task we take on should be the motivation. However, there is a glorification of “busy-ness”. The busier one is, the more important they surely must be! Modern Christians have fallen into the pit of over-extending. Instead of being able to pour 100% of one’s time and ability into a task, there is a split between too many volunteer, work, and church events. Now, each thing is getting less than our best.
"Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men." Colossians 3:23
Sins Christians Ignore 2. Seeking Romantic Relationships Before A Time With God
Marriages take a lot of work–there’s no question about that. We should first seek our relationship with God and then put our attention on our worldly relationships. If both partners are seeking God first, many of the answers to problems they may be experiencing will become clear.
Many people who do not have a partner become obsessed with finding one. They become convinced that if only they were not alone that their life would be better. They’ll spend hours on dating site profiles and scroll through prospective dates swiping their approval or disapproval of these people, judging them solely on their looks. Instead, perhaps they should spend that time in prayer for God’s will and be asking Him to send them whomever He had planned for them. Not that we aren’t to help ourselves and just sit on our sofas waiting on Mr. Right to walk in the door, but rather that we are to ask God to show us which doors we should consider.
“Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.” Psalm 37:4
Sins Christians Ignore 1. Cell Phones
Oh, our mini-computers, travel books, solitaire games. Our cellphone have become a part of our lives. How often do we hear someone complain about having left their cellphone at home and feeling “naked” without it? More generations are becoming comfortable carrying their phones with them everywhere, and using them whenever it suits them.
How many times do you see a family with their cellphones out during a meal in a restaurant? Perhaps we are allowing the convenience of technology to dictate our relationships, or lack thereof. Christians need to be getting to know our friends better in person and have meaningful moments with them. We are wasting away glued to our screens. Children are more frequently in possession of their own cell phones and rarely have to seek permission to use them.
Making Each Day Count
We begin our mornings checking our emails or the news on our phones. Then we end our days doing the same thing. We carry our phones to doctors offices, the park, and the library. There was a time when parents would chastise their adult children for listening to the radio while they were driving because it was distracting. It was one more opportunity for them to not be “in the moment”. Now, families are acclimated to having the driving parent also talking on the phone while all the passengers are texting, watching videos or playing games.
Allowing our cell phone usage to inhibit our relationships can indeed become a form of idolatry. We need to challenge each other to put more time into meaningful connections with others, especially God!
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