The Acceptable Christian Sin
When I first came to know Jesus, there was quite a learning curve. I had no idea how much lingo and Christian-ese I would be forced to learn. I could never have known how many rules and regulations I would need to remember.
I would listen to people say things like “I felt led…” or “God spoke to my heart…” and I felt confused. Led by what? How did God possibly “speak to your heart?”
Beyond the lingo though, I quickly learned that certain things were completely acceptable within the church culture, while others were not. When it came to the discussion of sin I realized that what I would have openly confessed was simply not okay to share.
The excited, geeked-out-for-Jesus newbie believer that I was didn’t know the difference. I knew that the Bible said to confess our sins to one another and our God who is faithful and just will forgive us our sins (1 John 1:9). So I was ready to confess. I was ready to lay it all on the table–the dirt, the grime, the reeking stench of my sin. I wanted it gone. I wanted that forgiveness.
But, I watched as it was quietly, subtly, and yet systematically made clear to me that only certain sins can be confessed–at least out loud. There were the acceptable “Christian sins” and then there was the rest.
You know the sins that are acceptable–gossip, laziness, forgetting to read your Bible, not spending as much time in your daily “quiet time” as you’d like, busyness, forgetfulness, and the like.
I would sit in a group of other young women and listen to them confess what I can only describe as “soft” sin. It wasn’t real life. At least, it wasn’t my life. It was fluff and surface-y. Worse, it hurt. I contrasted my own sin against what I heard being shared and I began to feel hopeless.
Perhaps this new Jesus wasn’t able to conquer my sin. Perhaps my sin was too big, too grimy, too black to be covered.
Because the sin I knew looked different. The sin that I sought forgiveness from was not “soft.” It was not “acceptable” to discuss in Christian church circles.
My sins were things like lust, fornication, debauchery, drunkenness, addiction. More specifically, my sins were promiscuity, pornography, drug-use, violence, and lie after lie necessary to to keep up appearances.
But, over time I came to see what God sees: sin is sin. It all needs to be forgiven by a righteous loving God and it is all able to be forgiven. Jesus didn’t die for the fluffy sins or even the weightier sins. He died for them all. Each and every one.
Whether it be gossip or greed, lust or self-loathing–all sin separates us from God. All sin interferes with our fellowship with the Father.
No sin is more acceptable or okay. All sin should be confessed to one another, no matter how seemingly dark or scary, off-putting or unwelcome. We have to cultivate a church environment where sin is not judged, but rather confessed. Where condemnation does not take place, but rather freedom reigns.
Because there is no acceptable Christian sin. There is only us confessing out of obedience and God forgiving us out of His faithfulness.
So let’s hear it. What sin have you felt hesitant or scared to confess for fear of judgement? Have you ever felt like there were categories of sin, those that are acceptable and those that are not?
Nicole is a hopeful romantic, baby wrangler, writer on a mission, and Kingdom seeker. When she isn’t flirting with controversy or tackling the Truth on her blog Modern Reject, you can find her knee-deep in sword fights and princess rescue efforts. You can stalk her on Twitter, Facebook, or wherever. She’ll stalk you right back.