Hear All About It
The message is loud and clear; “Our sins are better than your sins.”
The absolution of sin by comparison resonates within Christian culture. Whether shouting behind stabbing fingers, or covered whispers between believers, we’ve placated ourselves with a false reality that homosexual sins are worse that our little indiscretions.
Of course, that’s incorrect, so how do we stop focusing on the splinter in our neighbor’s eye, and deal with the plank in our own?
Institutionalized church has become a spectator sport. The price of admission is showing up early enough to grab good seats, looking presentable, and for goodness sakes, keeping your dirty laundry to yourself. Oh yeah, and making sure there’s always someone whose sins are way worse than yours.
Are there really graduated scales of economy where sin is concerned? We’ve been told that there are big fish lies, and then those harmless little white lies. Is that the case where sin is involved?
“Sin Scaling™” is a common theme among Christians. And to be clear, by Christians, I mean Catholics and Protestants. As long as we’re qualifying things, I guess I need to add that when I’m referring to sin scaling by Christians, I mean by heterosexual men and women. Oh, and so I don’t hurt any feelings, I know that Christian does not only apply to heterosexuals. Have I covered all of the required triggers? Good, let’s get back to adulthood.
I’m not sure if we do this as a way to distract each other from our own sins, or if there really is a deep-seeded feeling that LGBTQ sins are unforgivable. The truth is, there is only one sin that God said is unforgivable:
Truly I tell you, people can be forgiven all their sins and every slander they utter, but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will never be forgiven; they are guilty of an eternal sin.” ~ Mark 3:28-29(NIV)
It grieves me that in a time where the body of Christ is in such global peril of persecution, that as a collective body, we cast condemnation on a marginalized community for the express intent of lessening our own guilt by amplifying theirs.
I want to drop this truth bomb before we go much further. 1 Corinthians 6:9-11 is a verse I’ve seen used as a weapon against same-sex marriage, but the funny thing about it is that the verse goes on to list a lot more than homosexual sin.
Is it because God’s word identifies men having sex with men as sin that we get to say, “Yeah, that’s bad,” but we also get to ignore that in the same stream, God calls out the sexually immoral (hetero & homo,) idolaters, adulterers, thieves, greedy, drunkards, slanderers, and swindlers.
9 Or do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men 10 nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. 11 And that is what some of you were. 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. ~ 1 Corinthians 6:9-11(NIV)
I’d be willing to bet every one of us fits into at least one of those categories. Which ones identify you? I sure know they’ve convicted my heart. The good news is that even if you’ve been guilty of every single one, God says you were washed, sanctified and justified in the name of Christ by the Holy Spirit.
That doesn’t seem to classify one sin as better or worse than the other. It means we’ve all sinned and it’s an offense to God, ourselves and each other. Pointing fingers doesn’t make you holy. It makes you judgemental, prideful and unloving. And that’s not cool.
The idea isn’t to knock fellow Christians, but to nudge them to stop leering over the fence, and start looking into the mirror. Believe it or not, no one has or will ever earn their way into heaven by pointing out everyone else’s sin.
The church body is hurting because of the corporate sin of comparison. It’s lullabied us into a state of spiritual complacency.
We do not dare to classify or compare ourselves with some who commend themselves. When they measure themselves by themselves and compare themselves with themselves, they are not wise. ~ 2 Corinthians 10:12 (NIV)
Better Than “Them”
Think we’re doing better than “them?” Look at this study that shows divorce rates of church-going believers are almost identical to non-believers.
Another report shares that 51% of Christian men and 20% of women are addicted to porn. Guess what day of the week is their favorite for consumption? Sunday.
Not only is the flock suffering from sin, but the shepherds also struggle. Fifty-one percent of surveyed pastors say pornography is a temptation, and 54% said they’d watched porn within the last year, and 30% of those within the last 30 days.
Not only are pastors struggling with lust of the eye, but lust of the flesh is an issue for 63% of surveyed pastors fighting sexual addiction. Seems like peering over the fence involves more than condemning others for their sexual sin.
This is where we fail in the three pitfalls of life; lust of the eye, lust of the flesh, and pride of life. The third, pride of life, is reflected when we tout that the sins of others are more serious than ours, and by that, we are better than them.
For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—comes not from the Father but from the world. ~ 1 John 2:16 (NIV)
How do we move forward?
The answer is simple. Let’s drop the religious facade and get real.
If the big box-store churches only provide you with social activity on the weekend, then consider finding an environment that is better suited for your needs. Get back to what Christ called the church to do. We were called to serve, and not sit in an auditorium for weekly entertainment.
Join a Holy Spirit led small group or home church that focuses on your growth up until the point that it’s time for you to move forward to also disciple others in a small group you started.
Stop worrying about what other people or groups are doing unless it’s genuine concern for showing love to them.
Never compare your sin to anyone else’s sin.
Focus on what Jesus said. That is always the best bet for doing this right:
36 “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” 37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” ~ Matthew 22:36-40(NIV)
If you’ve found yourself getting angry over issues involving the LGBTQ community, then it’s time to take a look at your own heart. What’s fueling that anger? Look, this isn’t only an issue of same-sex versus hetero. The issue of minimizing our own sin by comparing it to others is killing us in the biblical sense.
Remember what is said in Romans;
For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. ~ Romans 6:23 (NIV)
So yeah, that death through sin is the same separation from God that Adam knew for biting the fruit and his son Cain experienced for killing his brother, Abel. You see, sin is sin, and there is no sliding scale of severity.
It’s totally cool to care about others, but let’s make sure we do it out of love and not the pride of comparison. From the beginning and until the end, no one’s sin is any worse than our own.
What Do You Think
What are your thoughts about this? Has the LGBTQ community lost their access to God?
Are they better off not trying to practice faith within mainstream Christian religions?
Should same-sex couples be allowed to marry in the church?
Why do we feel the need to compare ourselves to others on issues of sin?
Any other thoughts about this?
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