I was not raised a Christian, nor was my family (they still are not to this day). Not knowing the Christian “lingo,” mannerisms, music or sub-culture made me an anomaly when I was in church or around other Christians. Obviously, I knew about sin and what was right or wrong. At times, I noticed Christians doing things I knew God didn’t lead them to do, but they seemed convinced it was ok. Now, the five sins I’ve listed below may offend some to a disagree, but that’s ok because I would love to hear your opinions. If you do get angered, check your heart and ask yourself why that is.
I believe some Christians want to dance the fine line between the desires of the flesh and the Spirit (Matthew 26:41, Romans 8:5). They think it’s OK to do certain things, since the Bible doesn’t specifically address them. Some examples are smoking marijuana, looking at pornography, playing or watching extremely demonic/violent media, and the like. Sure, the bible doesn’t say “don’t smoke pot,” but is it a sin to do it? What about other habits that church denominations get into arguments about; are these right or wrong? Will I go to hell if I don’t follow a certain doctrine over another?
It’s so confusing, and to be honest, I’ve wrestled with these questions for years. I have come to some conclusions after reading scripture, praying, and asking the Holy Spirit for guidance. There are five major sins I have seen Christians excuse themselves of by saying “God told me it’s OK,” or “It’s not that bad!” and I want to bring these to light. I would love for you to discuss these points in the comments section so we can have a dialogue about them.
1) Lying – Everyone Does It!
Many Christians believe that not keeping their promises or leaving out details in the truth is fine. I will use myself as an example: sometimes I catch myself telling lies and I hardly even notice I’m doing it! It comes so naturally. There are times I have been late to work without anyone’s awareness, and when asked what time I arrived I have lied and said I was on time. In the moment I said I was on time, I didn’t even realize I had been lying until later on. When I realized this, I asked Christ to forgive me.
I hate and detest falsehood, but I love your law. ~Psalm 119:163
A lie could be telling your spouse (or parent) on the phone that you completed a task when, in fact, as soon as you hang up the phone you run to do it! Those are all considered lies, and we do them because “They’re not a big deal.” Small sins are still sins, and we should ask the Holy Spirit to convict us daily in the areas we need work in. Nobody is perfect, and if you think what you’re doing is “OK” then you’re mistaken, because God commands us to be holy as He is holy. That doesn’t mean “perfect.” It means we need to always seek Him out because we will always be messing up. Only through His grace and strength are we forgiven.
2) Living Together Before Being Married
People who do this may be quick to say they will be married soon, or they are “testing the waters,” experimenting to see if they are sexually compatible, etc. If I am to be honest, those are solely excuses to have sex without the commitment. Even when you are a boyfriend/girlfriend, the only goal you should have in that relationship is to get married.
1 Corinthians 7:1-9
7 Now concerning the things of which you wrote to me:
It is good for a man not to touch a woman. 2 Nevertheless, because of sexual immorality, let each man have his own wife, and let each woman have her own husband. 3 Let the husband render to his wife the affection due her, and likewise also the wife to her husband. 4 The wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does. And likewise the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does. 5 Do not deprive one another except with consent for a time, that you may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again so that Satan does not tempt you because of your lack of self-control. 6 But I say this as a concession, not as a commandment. 7 For I wish that all men were even as I myself. But each one has his own gift from God, one in this manner and another in that.
8 But I say to the unmarried and to the widows: It is good for them if they remain even as I am; 9 but if they cannot exercise self-control, let them marry. For it is better to marry than to burn with passion.
I myself was not married a virgin and gave into temptation several times, so because of my own experiences I can relate to this excuse when I hear it. God does not accept any reason you may have to have sex with someone who is not your wife. If you can’t afford the ceremony, at least get the civil marriage, have a notary make it official, or get a pastor to do a quick ceremony between you two and a witness. Pray about this, talk to mentors in your life and decide where that relationship is headed and what goals you both have.
3) Drinking Beer, Alcohol, or Smoking Marijuana
I wanted to list marijuana alongside drinking as this has become a popular topic nowadays in the United States. Even though having one beer, one shot of Tequila, or smoking one blunt will not kill you (nor are these things specifically mentioned in the Bible), they are clearly not beneficial in your life at all. From causing fatal accidents to being a gateway to other substances, these are things Christians should stay clear of. Sure, if you want to have a cup of wine with a meal and you’re of age, then, personally, I think that’s OK. But another Christian may not be comfortable with that. Think about others because you may lead them to stumble and sin.
Let me use some verses here in different contexts so you can understand what I’m talking about. Again, let me reiterate that I’m not saying that having one beer, one shot, or one cup of wine is sin. It’s not. It’s the motives behind them and how much of it your drinking. For some people, having one cup of wine makes them drunk, while others can drink five and nothing happens. God commands His people not to be drunk, or given into too much drink, because of the damage it causes and effects on our bodies.
*Paul tells his spiritual son, Timothy, that Deacons in the church should be given to much wine (1 Tim 3:8)
What about having just one beer, like a craft beer or a small shot of rum? Even though this won’t get the average adult drunk, you still have to consider others and consider if that’s what God has led you to do. Did the Holy Spirit lead you to roll one up or hit back a few cold ones, or was it your flesh? I can promise you God will not lead you to smoke or get drunk, that’s for sure. As Christians, we should stop trying to imitate the rest of the world. We are to be set apart for God’s work effectively in the world, not be exactly like the world itself.
How in the world do Christians excuse this one? Some think it’s OK to cuss someone out, and then say the Apostle Paul or Jesus Christ did it in similar fashion. Sure, they didn’t say f*** or s***, but some people say certain biblical figures used strong language when they spoke to the Pharisees, or rebuked believers that were tainting other Christians with false ideas. I can promise you Christ never used “foul language,” nor did the Apostle Paul. Here’s a long list of verses that show we shouldn’t be cussing, and the main ones I want to highlight below:
Just because we are angry, it does not give us the excuse to cuss and then say, “I was having a bad day.” We need to go to Christ and ask Him to help us out in these situations. We need His strength to get through life because we can’t do it on our own. It’s not easy, and there may be times we slip up and cuss in frustration. If you do, ask for forgiveness. Be holy, as your Father in Heaven is holy (Matthew 5:48).
5) Insulting Other Christians, Pastors, or Denominations
I myself have been guilty of this, but I eventually realized this line of thinking is rooted in sin. If you’re talking bad about other Christians because they don’t believe something you do (gifts of the spirit, baptisms, styles of worship, music, versions of the Bible, race, etc) then you need to stop for a minute. Many times, we watch a televangelist on TV, a famous personality who is speaking in our city, or someone from another church, and we are quick to point fingers, even though we don’t know enough about them to make a sound judgement.
There are men and women of God that are role models to me in the Christian faith, yet to others they may be too radical. There are some teachers on TV that say things I don’t accept because it doesn’t seem biblical to me, yet there they are saying it to millions of people. I need to be careful not to think that I know best or am superior in any way to them. God has given them that platform, how they steward it is not up to me. My job is to pray that lives get changed and people come to Christ.
How should we reach though, when we want to point fingers to them?
Pray for them, instead of talking trash. It’s a more productive use of your time.
Doing this list made me think of my own flaws and areas that God is still molding in me. He never stops showing us how we can be better, or show us where we are messing up. As long as our hearts are open to His correction, I guarantee your life will never be the same.