Views on what makes a sin terrible or acceptable

Cartoon man chasing chicken with an axe

Every congregation will have it’s own view on what makes a sin terrible and what isn’t so bad.

Here’s an example:

One day Paul and Gill (names changed) started to attend the church, and everyone was pleased to see two new faces in the congregation.

Everything was going well, but then they said that they were remarried and an awful silence descended on the church!
It was just too much for the congregation to cope with.
It broke right into their taboo area.

A group of people at a festival and someone dressed up as a lion.
A group of people at a festival and someone dressed up as a lion.

Everyone was ‘accepted’ as long as they stayed out of the ‘taboo area’, which in this church was divorce, homosexuality and immorality.
The new couple had broken the rules – even though it had happened years ago and had been worked through with each other and with the Lord.
Paul and Gill could never be truly accepted into the church family, so after a while they left.

The fact of whether they had been forgiven by God or not, wasn’t the issue for this congregation.
The problem was solely that they had been divorced.

There may have been greed, anger, jealousy, etc, within the rest of the people, but in their eyes, these things were not so bad, or no-one was owing up to it!
Therefore a blind eye could be turned to those sort of things.

There are several verses to remember in situations like this:

If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.
If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word has no place in our lives.”

1 John 1:8-10
  • Does the congregation think that they themselves are without sin?
  • Does the congregation believe in the forgiveness of sins and that we can be purified from unrighteousness?


Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.”

Ephesians 4:32
  • Can the congregation forgive those who are in the ‘taboo area’?

And as a reminder that our confessed sins have been forgiven:

I write to you, dear children, because your sins have been forgiven on account of his name.”

1 John 2:12

See another article: Christian code of conduct – unwritten behaviour

or: Christians behaving badly – selfish ambitions

or: Gays can’t stay at Bed and Breakfasts or hotels?

By Peter Reason

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