Church Sins

16 But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. 17 For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. 19 Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, 20 idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, 21 envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. 24 And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with itspassions and desires.

25 If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit. 26 Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another. – Galatians 5:16-26

“Everyone has sins they focus on and sins they ignore.  The tendency, of course, is to focus on the sins of others and ignore your own.  The church is no different.  So here’s a proposal:  Deal with the church sin everyone in the church seems to tolerate.  Let me explain.  When you explore a passage like Galatians 5:16-26, you notice that included in the same list that speaks of sexual sins is a long list of what I call church sins.  Church sins are sins Christians engage in all the time that, frankly, no one talks about or addresses.  Right alongside sexual immorality, impurity and ‘wild parties,’ Paul lists: hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissension, division, envy, jealousy, and arrogance.  If you add gossip and gluttony to the list, you’ve pretty much got a complete list of church sins we too often tolerate.  This list of sins actually describes the life of too many churches and too many people who would declare themselves to be ‘mature’ Christians. We are so blind to our own sins that we not only tolerate them, we sometimes celebrate them.  What do I mean?  Too many prayer meetings are thinly disguised gossip marathons.  Many churches could easily call their next potluck Gluttonfest. It wouldn’t be inaccurate.  More than a few Christians justify division, dissension, hostility, quarreling and jealousy in the name of being ‘right.’  This is terrible. It really is  And before you think I’m pointing fingers, I’m not.  I have gossiped, eaten too much too often, caused division and hurt, struggled  with envy, and I can be arrogant.  Don’t get me wrong … sexual sin has some heartbreaking consequences, but so does church sin. Seriously, just look at the state of the church today where church sin gets neglected, and you will see droves of people staying away and walking away.  So … what if church leaders: Never talked about sexual sin unless we also addressed church sin?  It would reframe the conversation.  It might even change some hearts. Including ours.

– Cary Nieuwhof


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