I recently saw a quote that made me stop and think for a moment. It was by Dieter F. Uchtdorf, “Don’t judge me because I sin differently than you.” Often in Christian circles it is not the fact that one sins that causes the problem but that the sin is not on the socially acceptable list.
In Proverbs we are given a list of sins that God hates. This list is not the only one in scripture nor is it exhaustive but it shows how God’s list of sins is all inclusive Proverbs 6:16-19 There are six things the Lord hates, seven that are detestable to him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked schemes, feet that are quick to rush into evil, a false witness who pours out lies and a person who stirs up conflict in the community.
In this list God includes lying and murder, pride and gossip. In today’s society lying, gossip, pride are all socially acceptable sins. We don’t think twice about the pastor who has filed bankruptcy or the elder who clearly has a problem with gluttony but woe to the woman who has been caught shoplifting. We roll our eyes at the church sponsored ”bible study” that is really just a weekly gossip and grip session. But we ostracize the man who has a sexual addiction.
We have pitched our tents in the land of acceptable sins. We feel good here. The land is a little higher than others to make it easier to look down our noses. We feel secure in this land. The boundaries are clearly marked and we know that as long as we stay within those we will be accepted in Christian society. The problem with finding security here is we are living in a cesspool.
A sewage swamp of sin is not a clean or pleasant smelling place. But, we think, everyone else looks and smells just like me so it must be OK. Sure when we compare ourselves to those around us we may look and smell equal or a little better. But comparing ourselves to others is what got us in the land in the first place. Our standards should be set based on the behaviors that God finds acceptable.
In God’s list there are no acceptable sins. He does not see big sins or little sins he just sees the horrific acts that sent his Son to the cross. You see, even if all you ever did was tell one lie your entire life it would be enough to send you into the eternal torment and darkness of hell. One socially acceptable lie equals a eternity separated from God. One time when we choose food over God or we murmur about our coworker. One time is all it takes.
But, God so loved the world that he gave his One and Only Son. One time is all it took for Jesus to pay the price for all of our sins. All the sins of the past and all the sins of the future. Nothing is too big for the blood of Jesus to cover. It has already been covered.
Pull up your tent, break down camp and leave the land of socially acceptable sins. Pitch your tent in the land of Grace. The air is clear and the ground secure. All are welcome. There are no boundaries to worry about. No list of rules to make you acceptable. You are accepted because your are covered in grace. You are loved by the one who gave his life to cover your sins.