How Do You Choose to “See” Sin?

photo courtesy
photo courtesy

I got into a discussion the other day where the conversation moved into whether or not there was a hierarchy to the sins that man commits. Of course, a few people brought out the well-worn, “well, sin is sin because the bible says that we are all sinners and fall short of the glory of God.”

Which is true.

But then someone else brought up, “of course there’s a difference in sins. The Old Testament also brings up how some offenses are punishable by banishment, some by stoning, and so on.”

Which is also true.

Now what do you do?

What do you think? Is there a difference in sins? And, from whose perspective are we looking? From whose perspective should we be looking?


One thought that I had—actually more of a fear than anything—was that with the second mindset of viewing sins “differently”, or viewing one sin as more significant than another, how easily it would become for us, as flawed human beings ourselves, to slip into a pattern of judgment over others around us. “Oh, I may be a sinner…but at least I’m not one of ‘those’.” *whew*

And I know “judgment” is a hot-button word, ripe for personal interpretation itself, and yet, this judgment tends to make us feel better about whatever sin habit we might have, because at least it’s not that sin habit.

What right do we have to see people only as their sin anyway? When do sinful people stop becoming people and start merely becoming their sin?

When you consider the story of the “sinful woman” who sat at Jesus’ feet, weeping, drying her tears with her hair, breaking the alabaster jar and anointing his feet with the expensive oil within…what was her sin? Did it matter? And, why didn’t the Pharisee have her thrown out as an obvious uninvited guest? Could he have been testing Jesus? “If this man were a prophet, he would have known who and what sort of woman this is who is touching him, for she is a sinner.” Doesn’t that statement sound exactly like placing hierarchy on sin? Is it only me to which that statement sounds wrong?

And notice that Jesus turns and forgives her sins without her saying a word! She doesn’t have to. She knew who he was. She knew what she was doing (despite, most likely, being scared to death).

She knew she didn’t have to.

And, so did He.

But how would she have known who He even was, without someone telling her? How would she have known where to find Him without searching, and likely without someone showing her the way?

I guess it all comes down to who you, fellow Christian, would rather be?

The Pharisee that hosts Jesus?

Or, the unknown follower that leads the “sinful” to Him?


When I was writing this, I was considering these passages:

Luke 7:36-50

Romans 10:11-17

Matthew 5:21-6:1

Romans 3:21-24


One thought on “How Do You Choose to “See” Sin?”

  1. The Lord’s concern for our sins is based on his love and desire for us to be released from the consequences of sin. He is not interested in shaming us or pointing a finger. Jesus gave his life so that we, through sincere repentance (which is ongoing), can be relieved from the pain that sin brings into our lives.
    “The nearer we get to our Heavenly Father, the more we are disposed to look with compassion on perishing souls; we feel that we want to take them upon our shoulders, and cast their sins behind our backs……Charity, which is love, covereth a multitude of sins (see 1 Peter 4:8)”—-The Prophet, Joseph Smith

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