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Sin is something most ministers are asked about on a regular basis. People want black and white lists of exactly what is and is not a sin. So what is provided here are some thoughts on a few of the behaviors and topics commonly brought up. There will be more to come, but these are some of the sin concerns from the shallow end of the pool.
No, drinking is not a sin. Jesus drank wine just like most other people in his day. However, it can become a sin at certain points. One is to drink to the point of being drunk. Another is for alcohol to become the major source of dealing with life’s issues instead of God (aka an idol). Paul also states leaders in the church should consume little alcohol or abstain completely.
Not an outlined sin, but it depends. The two concepts to consider are stewardship and moderation. If you believe God is your provider, you should rely on him to provide for you rather than games of chance (no smart remarks about “it’s not chance when I play.)” God calls us to be good stewards of what he gives us and blowing money on slots, blackjack and lottery seems a poor use of resources. But let us not become legalistic about it. A game of poker with family and friends is not much of an issue; given it is just a few dollars involved. But should you happen to have an addiction, avoid any such game as it will likely lead you back to worse habits. And if you are unable to lose without being a poor sport the rest of the night, you have a different issue to work out.
Going to a bar or club
Not a sin in itself. But if you are serious about your faith, you should seriously consider why you are going in the first place. If going will potentially involve twerking, getting drunk, hooking up, fights (whether you started it or not), e tc…is this really somewhere you need to be? And even if you somehow are not going for these reasons, you are basically surrounding yourself with people who are without good reason.
Listening to secular music
Whether or not this is a sin depends on the context. The thing is, in biblical times there was no such thing as contemporary Christian, gospel and all these other genres of Christian music. There was just music. With that said, you have to consider the messages in the music we listen to. Is it contrary to biblical messages or not? A love song can be pretty harmless, unless at some point it involves sexing somebody up. A song about hard times can be comforting, but not in a good way if the end goal is to either blast other people or merely complain about how much life sucks. Yet, other songs may never mention God or Jesus, but have their fingerprints all over it. So again, let us not get into being legalistic about it.
Watching movies or tv shows with questionable content
As with sin and music, we have to consider the content of what we are watching. Even more importantly, we have to evaluate how it affects us as well. If watching that action movie makes you momentarily consider blowing someone’s head off, you are clearly indulging a not so good part of yourself. If romantic dramas make you want to jump somebody’s bones, same deal. And of course, films with excessive profanity and random boobs are not a great idea when trying to transform one’s mind to be more spiritually centered. The basic rule is, know yourself enough to know how what you watch affects your thoughts; and maybe actions. But many do wonder if just because something is Christian, they intentionally slack on the quality and artistry of it.
Lying for a good reason
Consider who is being served and that will answer this sin question. If you had Jews under your house and the Nazi’s show up asking if you are hiding Jews, it is better to protect life. If your friend robbed a liquor store and you want to cover for them when questioned about it, no sense of justice is served. And no, just because it is your baby hardly justifies lying on the witness stand about them messing up. It is really only permissible when done for the expressed purpose of protecting an innocent person from an otherwise tragic situation. Wisdom and discernment should be a priority over self-preservation.
Working on Sunday
Dealing with the Sabbath is always a sticky issue regarding sin; especially since legalism is abundant on this subject. As with any law from God, it is better to understand the purpose it serves than to blindly hold to it for piety’s sake. If someone has a job where they only work Thursday through Sunday, they are not violating the commandment for the following reasoning: they clearly have other days of the week they are not working. The thought underlying the law of the Sabbath is to understand we do not have to work every day of the week since we should trust that God will still provide for us. But, God also wants us to understand the concept of taking time to rest our bodies and minds instead of running ourselves ragged. I highly doubt God is so vindictive as to turn someone away who did his will throughout their life, simply because they practiced their Sabbath on Sunday, Saturday or some other day of the week. Jesus stated the Sabbath was made for man and not man for the Sabbath.
By Corey Dorsey