Your Sin is No Worse Than Theirs

It’s easy to see the faults of someone when we are on the outside looking in. At least we think we see their faults, but most often what we are seeing are certain outward sins that result from an inner brokenness—one that is often illusive and complex.

The mind and spirit (which I believe to be very much interrelated) of man can be one of the most complicated and fragile things in God’s creation. For example, a single word or action can have long-lasting consequences, for good or bad.

Because of the often spiritual frailty of man and the manners in which our own sin hinders us from treating our brothers and sisters with delicacy as we often should, we should always be careful in how we judge others and how we approach them.

All of us have some measure of brokenness, no matter how much the Lord is working on us and helping us grow in the righteousness of the kingdom of God.

What I find is that it’s most beneficial if we focus on our own sins first and seek Jesus so that we can be forgiven and healed. It is not beneficial to focus on what everyone else is doing wrong, and it’s certainly not beneficial to esteem our sins as less offensive than the next person.

In this article, I want to reach out to those who have been treated harshly by other Christians because of their sin. I also want to encourage all of us to seek Jesus so that we can be healed from our own sin, and give us all a reminder that we should do our best to treat everyone with mercy, patience, and kindness.

The Parable of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector

And He spake this parable unto certain who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others;

Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a tax collector {publican}.

The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank Thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this tax collector {publican}.

I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess.

And the tax collector {publican}, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner.

I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other; for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted. (Luke 18: 9-14).

For Those Abused By Holier-Than-Thou Christians

How often have you been made to feel inferior because of your sin? How often have Christians looked down their noses at you, acted better than you, or simply passed you by without a second glance? It should not be so.

It can be very easy for people to act harshly towards certain sins that are more easily seen, like addiction, sexual sins, or a general failure to “get your life together.” What I have found is that those who are overly critical of people without fail have their own issues they need to work on. If they were as righteous as they esteem themselves to be, they would not treat sinners so terribly.

There are a few things we should keep in mind when others treat us this way. For starters, Jesus embraces sinners who are repentant and want a changed heart. That is his purpose, and he rejoices more over finding that one lost sheep than over an entire flock of righteous folk. Read Luke Chapter 15. You should never feel as if you are too big a sinner to approach Jesus. There is none who have not sinned, and there is no sin that is too large for Jesus to handle. None.

Secondly, as hard as it can be, we should try not to despise those who despise us. Remember that they have their own issues going on too. No matter how much they seem to have it together or how good they get at putting on shows of righteousness, those who treat you poorly have something dark inside of them that is eating them alive. Forgive them, have compassion on them, and Jesus will forgive and have compassion on you.

If we do not forgive others and seek to our own salvation, we are not in the best place for receiving the kingdom of God in our hearts. If you have trouble with bitterness, anger, hate, and the like, seek Jesus in these things first. He understands the hardship you went through that made you this way, and he will help soften your heart so that you are more able to receive him.

For Those Who’s Sins Are Less Grievous Than The Next Person

There are certain sins that appear to be worse than others. That is true. However, we should never esteem our sins as less than others, no matter how small we perceive ours to be or how massive those of our brother. The only reason we have any measure of goodness in us is because God gave it. Without Him, we are all an unclean thing and we all deserve damnation.

There is a reason why Jesus told us to remove the beam out of our own eye before removing the speck out of our brother’s eye. If we cannot see our own sin clearly and do not know how to become humble and approach the Lord, if we do not know what it is like to hate our sin and to find the relief that only Jesus can give, how can we help someone else?

Those who are the most helpful for sinners are those who have struggled with a similar sin and have been made free by the grace of Jesus. We understand their suffering, and because we know that our goodness and freedom came from Jesus and not our ability, we will not be overly harsh. We will not say, “if I did it, you can too” because it was not us who did it. It was God. Read The Unforgiving Branch.

No matter how good we think we are, we should always view our sins as the most grievous. We should always remember the patience of Jesus that is leading us to repentance. We must never forget the mercy he shows us. If we fail to do these things, we might find ourselves thrown back into the prisons of sin or afflicted by God in some other way. If we are Christians and we do these things, God will humble us one way or another.

True Righteousness Does Not Come By Law

It always bears repeating that man’s righteousness is not so righteous. Whether we are Christians who have fallen for some kind of legalistic faith trap or unbelievers who claim to be “good people,” without the knowledge of the Lord written in our hearts, we will corrupt what is good in some form.

We know this to be true. All we have to do is read Matthew Chapter 5. We might not murder, but if we are angry with our brother and hate in our heart, we are killing them. We cannot just look at the outward deed as the law does. We cannot say we are without murder because we did not kill our brother in the flesh when we kill him in the spirit with our hatefulness.

The righteousness of the kingdom of God does not allow for such loopholes and hypocrisies—and his law is actually stricter than the Old Covenant law because it gets to the heart of things. We cannot perform it on our own, no matter how much law we lay on ourselves outwardly.

Only Jesus Can Prepare Your Heart to Receive The Kingdom of God

If we are unforgiving, unkind, self-righteous, and act hypocritically, we do not have a heart that is prepared to receive the kingdom of God. We must be humble and sincere, knowing that we are sinners and that Jesus is the only remedy. We have to be repentant, not declaring that we are whole and do not need the physician.

Even if we are Christians who have dedicated their lives to Jesus, our declarations of faith and recitals of the “sinners prayer” do not save us. To believe such things is to believe in the power of our own works to save us.

The mercy and love of Jesus and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit which changes our natures is what saves us. We have to continue in the faith, always pushing onward and upward in the righteousness of the kingdom of God. We have to tend to our own salvation first so that we are better equipped to help our brothers and sisters.

If we struggle in things that prevent us from thriving in God’s kingdom and we seek Jesus in sincerity, he will help us. He will heal our hard and hypocritical hearts. No sin is too big for the Almighty. None.

On a side note:

There might be some who read this that become confused by the nature of some of the articles written here on KindlingTruth. You might find me hypocritical because I say we should not focus on what others are doing wrong, and yet, I write a great deal about wrongs within Christianity. I do not write this side note to defend myself, but for the sake of those who would sin against God by accusing me falsely.

The judgments I write about are not mine. They are the Lord’s and are found in the bible, and these focus on issues within systemic Christianity. I remain firm that we cannot judge individuals.

I do this work because it is the Lord’s will that I do. I understand that people do not like to hear that sometimes, especially since some things here go against the grain of tradition. We all have to follow our conscience. If you see me as confused, then pray for me because it is God that has allowed me to be confused.

This article is part of the series, “For Christians Abused by Christians.” I don’t have a home article for his series, but you can find all of my articles here. This series is the 10th.

Questions and comments welcome below. If this was helpful for you, please consider sharing with others. Subscribe if you would like to receive email notifications of future publications.

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Posted in Christian Faith, Christian Love, Christian Support
One comment on “Your Sin is No Worse Than Theirs
  1. Anonymous says:

    Amen

    Liked by 1 person

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These are the things that ye shall do: Speak ye every man the truth to his neighbour; execute the judgment of truth and peace in your gates: And let none of you imagine evil in your hearts against his neighbour; and love no false oath: for all these are things I hate, saith the Lord.  — Zechariah 8:16-17