Six Ways of Minimizing Sin

By R.J. March on March 18, 2015

The time for the meeting came and went.

The staff made small talk, watched the clock, and eventually, they left. They were waiting on me. I had double booked and missed an important meeting. What would I say to the staff?

I wanted to say that my son kept me up the whole night before.

I wanted to “explain” that I had entered the meeting wrong into Google Calendar.

I wanted to just get a new job and start over.

In other words, I wanted to minimize what I had done and the overly busy person I had become. In doing so, I would have added further offense to the staff by being dishonest.

I would have minimized the gospel in my own life and in the life of our staff.

Here are 6 ways we commonly minimize sin in our lives and what that reveals about us —

Which of these describes your strategy of choice?

Defending
I find it difficult to receive feedback about weakness or sin. When confronted, my tendency is to explain things away, talk about my successes, or justify my decisions. As a result, people are hesitant to approach me and I rarely have conversations about difficult things in my life.

Faking 
I strive to keep up appearances and maintain a respectable image. My behavior, to some degree, is driven by what I think others think of me. I also do not like to think reflectively about my life. As a result, not many people know the real me. (I may not even know the real me.)

Hiding
I tend to conceal as much as I can about my life, especially the “bad stuff.” This is different from faking, in that faking is about impressing. Hiding is more about shame. I don’t think people will accept or love the real me.

Exaggerating
I tend to think (and talk) more highly of myself than I ought. I make things (good and bad) out to be much bigger than they really are (usually to get attention). As a result, things often get more attention than they deserve and have a way of making me stressed or anxious.

Blaming
I am quick to blame others for sin or circumstances. I have a difficult time “owning” my contributions to sin or conflict. There is an element of pride that assumes it’s not my fault and/or an element of fear of rejection if it is my fault.

Downplaying
I tend to give little weight to sin or circumstances in my life, as if they are “normal” or “not that bad.” As a result, things often don’t get the attention they deserve. They have a way of mounting to the point of being overwhelming.

Each of these ways highlights a counter-intuitive truth –

When we minimize our sin, we minimize God’s life-giving impact in the world.

Even in something so small as missing a meeting, many of us show how little we understand God’s holiness, how little faith we have in Christ’s righteousness, and how little we expect God is able to do with our situation.

To counteract our tendency to shrink the gospel, we must constantly nourish our minds on biblical truth.

We need to know, see, and savor the holy, righteous character of God.

And we need to identify, admit, and feel the depth of our brokenness and sinfulness.

We make this our aim not because it is “what Christians are supposed to do,” but because it is the life God wants for us – a life marked by transforming joy, hope and love.

Our hope is not in our own goodness, nor in the vain expectation that God will compromise his standards and “grade on a curve” considering our excuses.

Rather, we rest in Jesus our perfect Redeemer – the One who is “our righteousness, holiness, and redemption” (1 Corinthians 1:30).
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Quoted from The Gospel-Centered Life © 2011 by Bob Thune and Will Walker. Used by permission of New Growth Press. May not be reproduced without the express written permission of New Growth Press.

>>>To purchase The Gospel-Centered Life and other helpful resources, please visit www.newgrowthpress.com.

 

R.J. March

About R.J. March

R.J. studied Philosophy at Furman University and focused his research on the ethics of globalization and minority perspective. He has integrated this research with service on Serge teams in Ireland, London, and Southeast Asia. R.J. is interested in how technology shapes community and has worked as the Digital Media Specialist for Serge and the Director of Communication for Global Counseling Network. You can find his other (digital) handiwork at rjmarch.com. R.J. holds an M.Div. from Covenant Seminary. R.J. and his wife Carolyn and their two children reside in Seattle where R.J. is the Assistant Pastor of All Souls Church of Seattle.