Thursday, April 1, 2010

Repellent Sins

Reservations for Doug and Wendy Whiner!!!

There can be no question that there are attractive sins, probably what the author of Hebrews had in mind when he talked about Moses forsaking "the pleasures of sin for a season." No need to list what these are!

But, there is another class of sin about which it is difficult to see the attraction, because misery seems to be at their very core, and, instead of attracting others, they repel them.

A bitter spirit. A lying tongue. Self-pity. Complaining and whining. Discontent.

Now, no doubt, these have their own twisted pleasure, but it is twisted indeed. Being the unfortunate inheritor of a very melancholy disposition, I see myself as particularly prone to the last three, and wrestle against them daily. I am not without significant sin in this regard.

In the church, there are often people who have a list of complaints. A lot of times, these complaints have some basis in fact. But, usually they are about matters of no consequence. Satisfy the complaints of such people, and they simply tack more on to the bottom of their list.

I have dealt with embittered people too --those who have been hurt or wronged, and lock themselves in the sarcastic prison-house of their own sense of having been greatly wronged. They are actually tortured and imprisoned by themselves, and take a perverse pleasure in having been wronged --as if their harbor of resentment against those who wronged them is somehow wreaking vengeance upon their tormentor. In truth, these are just sad folks, and end up repelling all around them.

What other sins are inherently repelling? And what can we do about them?


  1. Welcome back, Muse! I decided to comment on this one since I am not a "good enough" Presbyterian to have read all the way through either the Heidelberg or Westminster catechisms, but I'm going to add that to my list of things to do... Seems to me the repellent sins tend to be more of a psychological nature. There are the sins that we can commit physically (which I usually associate with a deep-seated weakness and neediness) and then those that wage war just within our minds. They are both sin, but the ones within the mind seem trickier. Those, to me, are more repellent because they create a bitter spirit that cannot be hidden. I have (and still do at times) warred with some of these myself. What's so interesting, in my experience, is that often when we're wronged, it's a great chance to really examine ourselves and see if there is some way in which we set ourselves up for what was delivered, but we rarely do that. More often, we add it to the bitter, stinking pile within and let it fester. But as you said tonight in the sermon, if we can view the problem as SIN, not sins, then we can accept the grace provided at the cross and repent of that bitterness. Also, I think something we can do is speak truth in love when we can to help each other out. It's part of the function of the body of Christ, is it not? I don't mean just running around telling everyone off -- I mean when we're in relationship with close Christian friends and we have that opportunity. Why would we just silently let a brother or sister continue fighting and exhausting battle without trying to help?

  2. Speaking strictly from an observational standpoint, I find self-righteousness to be particularly repugnant.