We know about the seven deadly sins:
Envy, Gluttony, Greed, Lust, Pride, Sloth and Wrath.
I don’t want to talk about them. I would like to talk the smaller sins that we tend to overlook, but shouldn’t ignore.
How often did Jesus call out the Pharisees in the New Testament? All. The. Time. And it was always for self-righteousness or selfishness. If you must compliment yourself on something good you’ve done, then you aren’t doing it right. So many of us like to display our faithful acts so that others will know what good Christians we are. Christ doesn’t care what everyone else thinks of your generosity. He cares about your heart and your motivation. If you need other people to know about the good things you do, feel, or think to feel validated, then you need to re-evaluate.
Fear & Worry
Jesus is very clear about worrying. He flat out tells us not to worry. Faith requires trust. 1 John 4:18 says, “There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear. . .” God is love. He loved us enough to send his son to die to atone for our sins. His love is perfect; therefore, we should have nothing to fear. I know fear is inevitable sometimes. It can be difficult to not worry about things. We are not perfect, but fear and worry are not part of the equation with Christ. These attitudes that imply a lack of faith. All we can do is remember that God is sovereign and always in control.
We talk about pride all the time in church. We consistently discuss how detrimental and dangerous it is, but it seems like we don’t recognize what pride is. We don’t realize that every time we refuse someone forgiveness we are acting in pride. Every time you argue with a friend, family member, or spouse and insist that you will not be the one to apologize first then you act out of pride. Remember the grace that Christ extends to you and try to extend that same grace and forgiveness to others.
We like to talk about other people’s lives as if we live in their heads and know everything about them. This is something “church” people are constantly accused of, and is often the result of a judgemental attitude. Isn’t a purpose of church to bring those that are far from God closer? It might feel nice to escape our own issues by talking about someone else’s for a while, but let’s try to remember to speak with grace and that our sin is just as sinful as anyone else’s.
In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus tells us what we already know – that murder is wrong – but he follows that up by saying that anyone who has harbored hatred towards someone has committed murder in his heart. Hatred is connected intimately with fear. We fear people we don’t understand and that fear causes us to hate them irrationally. The general attitude towards all Muslims based on the acts of a small sect is a perfect example of this. We also tend to harbor hatred against those who have hurt us. We constantly need to be searching our heart and monitoring our thoughts and feelings.
This one is the kicker. This is what will be the death of our faith and our influence. I know that Paul tells the churches to expel sinners from their midst. He encourages us not to indulge someone in sinful behavior. We use those verses to justify judgement of others and I believe this is a gross misinterpretation of scripture.
The truth of Jesus is in our equality. We are all sinners in need of a Savior. Christians have accepted Christ and avoided condemnation based on faith and the grace of God. We do not avoid condemnation based on our own actions. Every time we think less of someone else, we forget that we are also sinners. The only way to avoid this sin is to acknowledge our own weaknesses and to embrace humility. In fact, that could help us avoid a multitude of sins.