Blessed… Unequal Sins

 “Therefore, I tell you that people will be forgiven for every sin and insult to God. But insulting the Holy Spirit won’t be forgiven. And whoever speaks a word against the Human One will be forgiven. But whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit won’t be forgiven, not in this age or in the age that is coming (Matthew 12:31-32, Common English Bible).

A few years ago, I would quickly tell you that to God, a sin is a sin. Just as the old adage about chains and weakest links, any of those rusty links can bring us down.

The problem is, I would argue, we want to equate sin with crime. We think that just as there are greater and lesser crimes, there are greater and lesser sins. After all, we think logically, accidentally (or even purposefully) taking a pen from work isn’t as bad as say, stealing someone’s car. These two aren’t just not in the same ballpark, they aren’t in the same league.  The car, if we are caught, will send us to prison. The pen, even if our boss knows, there is a pretty good chance he/she won’t even care.

Surely, the logic goes, God can’t possibly see the two are the same. Both, however, share something in common. They both commit the sin of stealing. Though they are absolutely different levels of crime, as sin, they are probably equal in the eyes of God. The reasoning continued, if this is true, then in the eyes of God, all sin is sin.

Well, that was my logic and I know I preached such, more than once in my career. Then one day a couple of years ago, I was watching a worship service on television. When the preacher (I didn’t know) read the text, it was today’s lesson. He made the argument in his sermon that sin is not sin. There are differences. Then he got specific. He pointed at this lesson and said (I paraphrase) “If this sin cannot be forgiven, it stands to reason that this sin is a worse sin than others.” When I heard it, at least at first, I scoffed. I thought the guy didn’t have a clue what he was talking about. I now think I was wrong.

The more I thought about the preacher’s argument the more I thought, “He has a real point. One sin is not like another.” My apologies to those I told differently over the years. But, I am convinced our beliefs and understandings go through changes in life as God brings more light to our understandings.

As I continued to think about this new idea, one day, as I was having my devotional time I read the story of Jesus being asked about the greatest commandment (Matthew 22:26-40, CEB). My logic moved forward to think, “If Jesus said that to love is the greatest commandment, it stands to reason that violating the greatest commandment would be a greater sin than most of the other sins we commit (with the exception of the one that can’t be forgiven).”

You might ask if there are other sins that rank above. My answer becomes, “I don’t know.” The best advice I have is, leave it alone. If we work to stay away from sin, we will be better for effort.

Have a blessed day in the Lord.

Joy, Peace and Thanksgiving,
Keith

Copyright 2017, J. Keith Broyles, All Rights Reserved

Published by drjkbroyles

I love Mike Ashcraft's book, "My One Word." For the past nine years I have participated and encouraged others to participate to in the "My One Word" Challenge. My first word was discipline was my word the first year. Since then my word has been focus, sight, jungle, peace, concentration, serve, genuine and this year is fit. I seek to be fit for my health, my family, my church, my ministries. I seek to be fit in any are of my life where God might point to me. I also have a nickname, "Dr. B." When I was a public high school teacher, Dr. B. is what most of my students called me, at least in my presence. I am still called that by many people though I no longer teach in public schools. I am the author of "Average Joe: With an Extraordinary Story" (available on Amazon). The book fits into the genre of "Biblical Fiction" or "Christian Fiction" and features some of the Bible's lesser known characters. The name of my blog is, "Fork in the Road." Life is filled with forks in the road. It isn't a matter of if we encounter a fork in the road, but when will we and how many will we experience in a lifetime. I love to strum my guitar. I am not a great guitar player but I enjoy it. I also enjoy writing music. I get excited with I feel a new song emerging. I live with my wife Cindy and our little dog, "Bishop" in Lufkin, Texas. I spent the past 30 years as a United Methodist pastor, serving churches all over east and southeast Texas, from just north of Tyler to south of Houston, from the Gulf Coast to east of Madisonville. I currently serve Perritte Memorial UMC in Nacogdoches. I spent one year in the classroom, teaching High School government, economics, psychology, and sociology. Cindy and I have been married for 43 years. We have two grown sons and six grandchildren, three boys and three girls. I enjoy preaching and all it's aspects from research to writing to the actual preaching event. I also love writing, reading. I have dabble in drawing and "painting" with pastels as well as woodworking and woodcarving. My current projects are two ukuleles. I collect, repair and restore guitars too. I play the guitar (badly, but I still do) I also enjoy working with paracord on various projects, mostly prayer ropes I usually give away. I hold an Associate of Applied Science Degree in Business Data Processing, from San Jacinto College in Pasadena, TX, a Bachelor of Science in Political Science with a minor in History from Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, TX, a Master of Divinity from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, TX and a Doctor of Ministry from Carolina University of Theology. This blog started out as devotional writings. In August of 2020, I made a major change to the blog, switching to a daily theme format. Sunday Sermon-usually my manuscript sermon Miscellaneous Monday-misc. writing, poetry, ministry Tuesday Thoughts-Devotion Wed. with Wesleys-hist. & theol. of early Methodists TED Talk Thursday-Video & appl. in current theology Five for Friday-5 things I've seen & my thoughts Sing-Along Sat. - Usually a new song I have written I write, "Strumming a G-Chord with Dr.B." to get my thoughts onto something permanent. After all, they say, once something is on the internet it never really goes away. Still, I hope you enjoy reading it. Who knows, it might generate a bit of discussion between you and me and anyone else who might make their way here. Seeking the Genuine, Keith Lufkin, Texas August 2020

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