Acceptable Sins

I find it interesting when I hear individuals in the faith community discuss sin. It is usually not every sin that is discussed. Just certain ones. Case in point ...

We have a dear friend who recently married. He lives quite far from here so we were not able to attend the wedding. I mention that because if we had been present at the wedding, we most likely would have noticed the baby bump under the bride's wedding attire. Last week, we received a message from him, confessing his sin of having sex with his fiance before marriage, and announcing that he would soon be a father. He noted that he withheld this information from us because he was ashamed to share it with us, that we may think less of him.

Did he sin? Definitely ~ and I can give you chapter and verse ~ Galatians 5:19. Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, ...

Is he forgiven? Absolutely ~ by God and by us. And our love for him is not diminished by his sin. Quite honestly, in our eyes, our friend is not defined by his sin of immorality but by his heart of contrition.

Here is what I find interesting. There is a comma at the end of the verse I quoted above. The comma says that the list keeps going into verses 20 and 21. Here is the complete list of sins noted in Galatians 5:19-21 ~ works of the flesh, as Paul calls them.

Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these.

In Christ, there is no hierarchy of sin. Whether it is babies conceived out of wedlock, angry words spoken at a spouse, an unwillingness to forgive that leads to divisions and estrangement, a heart of jealousy, or materialism (ie, idolatry). These are all works of the flesh. Missing the mark. Unholy behaviors. Sin.

Paul adds to that list in 2 Cor. 12:20 ~ quarreling, jealousy, anger, hostility, slander, gossip, conceit, and disorder.

Why are we so biased toward one sin and not the others? Is it any less sinful to talk about the young couple who obviously had to get married than it is to conceive a child out of wedlock?

In the eyes of a holy God, there are no acceptable sins. Even our biases increase the strife and division among us. Jesus tells us in Matthew 7 ~

Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, Let me take the speck out of your eye, when there is the log in your own eye ... first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.

Living in a redemptive community means we are not deceived into thinking that there are acceptable sins. Redeeming the future begins with the humbling and hard work of logging ~ getting my own heart and life in line with what God desires.